Larry Fitzgerald has caught nearly everything thrown his way during a 10-year career as an Arizona Cardinal.
With over 11,000 career receiving yards and 87 touchdowns, Fitzgerald has grown into a star since being selected with the third overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, and he has certainly been paid like one.
Fitzgerald signed an an eight-year deal worth $128 million in 2011, but when the eight-time Pro Bowler was slated to earn more than $12 million in salary in 2014, he and the team restructured the deal in February to change that to a $1 million salary with a $11.75 million signing bonus.
The move helped the Cardinals financially this season, but also just pushed back some big decisions between the team and the receiver for one more year.
“Well, Larry’s salary cap number next year is $23.6 million,” Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com told Bickley and Marotta of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “That’s not his salary, but it does include a giant roster bonus. Regardless, if he stays on the team and they don’t do anything with his contract, that’s a $23.6 million hit. That’s the kind of thing teams have to adjust to.”
If the Cardinals want to avoid the $23 million hit on the cap next year, the team will either have to restructure his deal again or possibly part ways with their all-time receiving leader.
“I do think that Steve Keim has shown that as important as some of these players are, the big picture is the big picture,” Urban said. “That’s why, for instance, Adrian Wilson is not here anymore. I’m not saying by any way, shape or form that means Larry Fitzgerald won’t be here next year, but I do expect there to be a very serious conversation very early in the next offseason between the team and Fitzgerald. I don’t care how good he is, I don’t know if you can have a $24 million cap hit for any one player, it just throws everything out of whack.”