Larry Fitzgerald re-signs with Arizona Cardinals for 2020 season

Jan 15, 2020, 7:38 AM | Updated: Jan 16, 2020, 10:40 am
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) reacts at the end of an NFL football game aga...
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) reacts at the end of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
(AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Arizona Cardinals veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has signed a one-year deal to return for the 2020 season, the team announced Wednesday.

Terms of the extension were not disclosed by the team, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the contract is “roughly the same amount” as his $11 million base salary that he made the last five years. ESPN’s Field Yates confirmed that the deal includes a $500,000 roster bonus and $250,000 in incentives.

The 16-year pro followed the Cardinals’ news release with a statement of his own, confirming that his first season working under head coach Kliff Kingsbury was an enjoyable one despite the team’s 5-10-1 record.

Fitzgerald, who would have become a free agent in March, is already a shoo-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame with a career that has seen him lead the league in receptions twice (2005, 2016), record nine 1,000-yard seasons, earn 11 Pro Bowl selections and one All-Pro selection, earn the 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year award and record a whopping 942 receiving yards in just nine career playoff games.

The 36-year-old receiver remains a top pass-catching options for the Cardinals after all these years, with his first and most recent 1,000-yard seasons coming 12 years apart.

He finished 2019 with four receiving touchdowns and a team-leading 804 yards, the latter of which led the team in its first year led by head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Fitzgerald also was rookie quarterback Kyler Murray’s top explosive play option down the field with 10 catches of 20-plus yards.

The production from the 16-year pro was one reason those around the Cardinals believed Fitzgerald would return for a 17th season.

“I will say this: This is maybe the most fun I’ve seen him have in the last four years playing for us,” Arizona GM Steve Keim told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Dec. 20. “He’s playing at a high level. I know he likes Kliff and I know he really likes our offense. Doesn’t hurt to have a guy (like quarterback Kyler Murray) that can spin it to him like this guy, too.”

Another reason those around Arizona speculated Fitzgerald would return was his desire to cement himself in the record books.

Fitzgerald’s 17,083 career receiving yards rank second all-time behind Jerry Rice (22,895). He also ranks second all-time behind Rice (1,549) with 1,378 receptions and is sixth in receiving touchdowns (120), putting him behind Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Rice.

The Minneapolis native played his college football at Pittsburgh, where he had multiple 1,000-yard seasons, including one in which he reached 1,672 receiving yards in 2003.

The Cardinals took Fitzgerald third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, just after the San Diego Chargers selected Eli Manning first overall — he was later traded to the Giants — and tackle Robert Gallery went to Oakland with the second pick.

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