The Arizona Cardinals are reportedly working on a new deal that will keep wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on the team for the rest of his career.
The Arizona Cardinals weren’t kidding when they said they wanted to keep All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald for the rest of his career. Now it appears that both sides are willing to put their money where their mouth is and get an extension signed that would keep Fitzgerald in ‘Zona for the remainder of his NFL career, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald closing in on multi-year deal that will get done and enable him to finish his career in Arizona.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 18, 2015
This hardly seemed to be a major concern to the untrained eye. Fitzgerald is signed through 2019 and at 31 years old, that seems like plenty of time for him and the team to sort things out and pursue a Super Bowl. However, Fitzgerald’s contract has grown increasingly unwieldy given the team’s cap situation. His cap charge in 2015 would exceed $23 million, which is unpalatable for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
This deal will likely be re-structured in a way to push back certain bonuses and charges to later years while keeping the cap money clear for 2015. ESPN also notes, “Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said last week that the team hoped to acquire a high-profile free agent with the salary-cap space freed up by reworking Fitzgerald’s deal.”
As it stands, the Cardinals have one of the worst salary cap situations in football. They are already $12 million over the projected threshold with several big name veterans set to leave town, including cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who enjoyed a resurgent 2014 season in the stellar Cardinals defense.
That’s why re-working Fitzgerald’s contract is so important to Arizona. While they’d be loath to part with the receiver who has been the face of their franchise since his arrival, it was easy to assume the team would rather part ways with Fitz than eat his cap figure as it stands for the next four seasons.
It’s impossible to know for sure what the team plans to do with the cap space freed by a Fitzgerald deal, but they could hardly go wrong with the crop of offensive linemen set to become free agents. Fortifying the line to keep Carson Palmer a little safer can never be a bad idea, given how much the team struggled after losing their starting QB to injury.
For now anyways, we’ll have to wait and see what ramifications, if any, a re-structured Fitzgerald deal will have on the rest of the Cardinals roster.
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