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Larry Fitzgerald, his contract and “it takes two”

Posted by Darren Urban on February 12, 2015 – 1:45 pm

Back in 2008, Bertrand Berry was asked to take a pay cut to remain with the Cardinals. He decided to do so. In 2012, Adrian Wilson was asked to take a pay cut to remain with the Cardinals. He did so (and that didn’t save him from being released after the season.) The only leverage either player had was to say, “I’ll leave” if they didn’t like the offer. It’s not ideal, but it was reality.

That’s where we are with Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals. This is not a surprise, not with a $23.6 million salary cap number, an actual payout of a scheduled $8M salary and another $8M roster bonus due in about a month. Not with the Cardinals, even with a carryover of $4.2M from last year’s cap to tag on to a projected $140M salary cap for 2015, around $11M over the cap at this point (according to ESPN) and needing to get to at least even by March 10. Regardless of specific numbers, the Cards need to slice some cap money.

Again, none of this is new.

I’ll be honest – I listened to Michael Bidwill’s interview Wednesday morning on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7 and nothing stood out. When he talked about bringing Fitzgerald back and working out a contract, it was the things you’d expect to hear.

At one point, Bidwill did say “it takes two” to reach a deal. That raised eyebrows. But should it? At some point, the Cardinals and General Manager Steve Keim were going to want to harness the salary cap, and that was going to start with Fitz’s current deal. I thought for a while that might come last offseason, but instead, the Cards — and Fitz — kicked the can down the road a season with a simple restructure to buy cap space. We have come to the rip-the-band-aid-clean-off stage of this thing.

There are 10 wide receivers right now averaging at least $9M on their contracts. Only three — Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson and maybe Vincent Jackson, given all the Buccaneers’ cap space — aren’t serious candidates to renegotiate/restructure/get released this offseason (and Johnson, as good as he is, is headed that way in the next year or two himself, given his cap numbers.) Fitzgerald’s situation, especially at his position, is not unique.

Like Berry, like Wilson, the ball will be in Fitz’s court, basically. Yes, there are salary numbers to figure out — as always — but the Cards aren’t going to change their thought process. Carson Palmer was asked to do something similar in Oakland; he declined and was traded to Arizona. Maybe that’s what Fitz will want to do. Maybe a new deal will work for him, and maybe the other benefits of being in Arizona on a personal level make it worth an agreement. Maybe a different opportunity is more intriguing, or maybe the numbers just won’t be good enough, and Fitz uses what leverage he has. But there are really no new angles that can come out on this thing. It’s not hard to analyze.

FitzBlogagain


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74 Responses to “Larry Fitzgerald, his contract and “it takes two””

  1. By D on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Well said D
    It’s all in Larry’s court. Last year, the Cards acted like the Fed Gov on the debt and kicked the contract problem down the road, it’s time to correct this thing.

    The one thing I see from Larry’s point of view, is he may believe he is still more productive than his numbers say due to the multiple QB’s he had to play with the last several years. I don’t blame Larry for signing that deal, any player would have, but now if the Cards want to field a competitive team by filling the holes outside of this issue, this needs to get fixed now.

    If his agent schedules a meeting in Indy next week with AZ then it will be a positive sign, if the agent is MIA, then it’s safe to say Larry is probably thinking about finishing his career in another town..

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Meeting

    I’ll disagree there. I would guess there would be a meeting, but even if not, both sides have known each other long enough and know exactly what is in play here that an Indy meeting is not needed, IMO. I don’t know if there’s much to really discuss at this point, other than perhaps trading a couple of numbers. I don’t think the general tenor of the arguments are going to change.

  3. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Yep. Either Larry wants in … or he wants out. Clearly, at a reasonable price, he is wanted by the Cards. As NE proved you don’t need great wideouts to win, just plenty, a good scheme, blocking and a running game to make play action work. My bet: fare thee well Larry, see you at HOF, Ring of Honor inductions

  4. By red2616 on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    What’s the smallest cap hit can the Cards restructure to with Larry? Anyone? Cut him 14.4, if they restructure to let’s say a three year deal, what’s the lowest # can it be? Then look at other teams in the Cards position meaning a Super Calibur team. Can or will any of them pay that much for larry? If the answer is NO, then he stays. If it’s yes then he goes. If he wants money they trade to the Vikings and dump the cap issue all together. With all the WR’s out there like Cobb, T. Smith, even Cecil Shorts, I’d say key him go to the Vikes and sign a Shorts or Britt plus maybe Ingram or Forsett or a pass rusher. Fitz can help but that Cao will hurt the Cards getting a ring. Larry knows it and he wants a ring. He can restructure and get a ring. He’s already worth $100 million but no ring. He can have best of everything, stay, ring and look even more like a hero. Pull a Tom Brady. Look what that’s got him!

  5. By Brad oneill on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Edgerin james, emmit smith, jerry rice, brett farvre these are the guys larry should talk too to find out what it was like to go out with another team. Great players great paychecks, but what does it feel like to retire as something other than where you made your name?

  6. By Marlin on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    we’re not $11M over….ESPN is incorrect. They aren’t counting dead money changes from last year.

  7. By Neptune0327 on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Love Fitz, but he is not same reciever he was in 2009. I’m sure he can get a lot more money on the open market. I think he walks along with Cromartie. That would be a tough couple of losses to have and come back better next year.

  8. By D on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    I’ll be glad once this Larry Contract thing is over with and with other moves the Cards have some $ to land at least one Major player in free agency. (although they will add more as role or support players, one will be a difference maker, aka. J. Veldheer)

    My guess will be either a Pass Rusher or an Interior OL player to target.

    1) My main target this offseason would be: P. McPhee from the Ravens.
    He is only 26 can play at more than one position and can play in a 3-4 and 4-3.
    Many AZ fans will not know this player, but he could raise the bar for the Cards defense next year. He and Okafor would be a nice combo to help CC on getting more pressure.
    There are bigger names out there like Houston, Worilds, Orakpo and Hughes but those players will be difficult to sign here.
    a) Houston will be franchised
    b) Hughes will resign in Buffalo because of Rex and their huge available cap space
    c) Worilds will get over paid
    d) Okrakpo doesn’t really fit a 3/4 def and has a long injury history.

    My backup target difference maker would be O. Franklin. If the Cards want to add more size, strength and nasty to their Interior Oline, this is the player. He is 28, could help Massie and is a better pass protector than Iupati from SF that everyone appears to want to sign.

  9. By Seacard on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Darren-
    Add me to the legion of people who are ready for this topic to be resolved. Both sides have played their media chess game throughout the season, and honestly I think the biggest thing holding this back(unless Keim is presenting a ridiculous number) would be the health of the QB position. Tragically NONE of the cards QBs are in a position of strength to begin next year, aside from Stanton… maybe. Palmer will be healing to some degree and Thomas is another year away. Let the Lindley project come to an end, great guy not a great or good QB. Regardless Im looking forward to seeing how much cap space is freed up when this is figured out, Darren think this will be resolved by FA? Regardless of cap space who do you see the cards pursuing FA wise?

  10. By Darren Urban on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Seacard —

    RE: Resolution

    I think the Cardinals obviously would like this done ASAP because it will impact FA.

    As far as who they will pursue, we need to see who is out there by then — although given the cap situation, I don’t see many high dollar acquisitions.

  11. By georgiebird on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Cards are doing the right PR work with Larry’s situation. Michael is telling everyone the Cards are willing to make a deal and it’s up to Larry to want to make it work.
    Bottom line- Larry is an overpaid WR at this stage. Also, the Cards have a lot of holes to fill. So also expect DD to go.
    What every Cardinals’ fan has to understand is that BA is a a near three time winner of the COY. BA has a big ego. BA feels he can make a silk purse out of a Sow’s ear. So bring in the new guys- like Bettcher.
    And you can’t knock BA’s track record to this point.

  12. By Scott H on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Brad oneill –

    OK, I get your point. But he could also talk to Aeneas Williams, who left and won a SB with the Rams. All depends what angle you want to look at it from. Of course, Williams was dead in the water with the Cardinals and he knew it. Not so with Fitz, since the Cardinals appear to be a legit contender in the NFC right now.

    Besides, the players you named are and will ALWAYS be associated with the teams where they spent the majorities of their careers. Those players left their teams because they wanted to keep playing and that meant going somewhere else. And I think most of those guys DID actually retire with their “real” teams, didn’t they? Even if that meant signing a one-day contract just to get it done, they still retired with the teams they will always be associated with.

  13. By Scott H on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    As always, I want to see Fitz stay here and win a SB with the Cardinals. Who wouldn’t want that? That would be a great story.

    I will have a hard time with seeing him go to a lesser contender for the biggest / best deal he can find. Because that would just NOT seem to be in keeping with his character. That’s Karlos Dansby. That’s NOT Larry Fitzgerald.

    I would understand him going to a team who IS a legit contender ( as long as it ain’t the Seahawks! ) but only if it is for more than he could get here and / or if it appears to be an offense where he will have an increased role from what his role was reduced to in Arizona in 2014.

    BTW, that was always part of the reason I did so much griping during the season about Fitz not being utilized to the extent he has been throughout his career. That HAD to be frustrating for him even though he has the class and professionalism to not make an issue of it publicly. But….if you are the Cardinals organization and you want Fitz to stay here ( as you have claimed repeatedly ), then you’re NOT helping your cause by reducing his role in the offense. Just sayin.

    The scenario I would understand the least would be Fitz going anywhere ( Most likely a contender ) for the same OR LESS than what the Cardinals were offering. THAT would be hard to swallow because that wouldn’t be on the front office. That would be Fitz seeming to say he would prefer to be somewhere else. But I am NOT expecting that.

  14. By red2616 on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Why is DD gone this year?? Next year is when a TON of good FA’s hit. DD is back next year and will be ready for mini camp. Palmer is ahead of schedule. Have you seen the video of workouts? Looks good for that surgery. He looks better upper half than he did when we got him. Almost a season of sitting may be just what his body needs. I want this Fitzy thing done. I love Fitzy and Great guy. Work with him, dad and family in charity. Great people all the way to the Aunts. He has the mo eu he needs/wants. He wants a ring and wants to retire as a Card. He likes that old school thing. Finish what you start. He has a chance to do so by restructure to a 2-4 year deal, win a ring next year and then retire. If he wants money and screw a ring and loyalty (opposite of Larry) then he stands pat and trade to the Vikes. Cut Ginn and bring in a main you g new WR in case Floyd leaves next year. Cobb?

  15. By Darren Urban on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    red —

    RE: DD

    DD would be gone because his cap number is nearly $10M, and you can’t absorb that for a 34-year-old DL coming off a major knee injury. He too likely will have to accept a pay cut.

  16. By red2616 on Feb 25, 2015 | Reply

    isn’t that why they are re-doing it now? Or trying to?

  17. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Would you release Fitz and sign FA OLB Justin Houston? 22 sacks 4 FF 69 tackles?

  18. By carlo milano on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    from those players if we cut them what they save

    powers 4,35 mil
    stanton 3,25 mil
    fitz 9.8 mil
    dockett 6,8 mil
    ginn 2,5 mil
    sendlein 3,15 mil

    actually we are 11 over the cap
    making those cuts we have 19 mil of cap room
    14 mil for free agency 5 for draft

  19. By Dobie on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    I do enjoy some of your guy comments it bring in site to what going but I am old school so when you start with all this abbreviation like DD FA SB and al that stuff I do know some of them where do I learn what the hell you mean

  20. By georgiebird on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,
    Anything on Jaron Brown? He should be a major piece of the plans for 2015.

  21. By Darren Urban on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Jaron

    They are planning on him. Whether he and Floyd and John Brown are enough at wide receiver is a big leap at this point, though, in my opinion.

  22. By krehbieo14 on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    I think it’s of mutual interest to get a deal worked out. I believe Larry needs the Cards as much as they need him. He is the face of the franchise, has a boat load of endorsements and has the potential to be on a team going deep into the playoffs. His role may be a bigger issue than money, but I hope it’s worked out ASAP.

  23. By drummer-1 on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    @ Scott H… Actually the Rams lost that Super Bowl.. But he did get to play in one..

  24. By clssylssy on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    At this point in his career, I don’t think it’s about the money for Fitz as much as attaining his personal goal of winning a Superbowl. I think that had the Cardinals been able to accomplish that this year, Fitz might even retire (still an option), as he has many outside interests and projects all over the world, and is not a guy who will ever be out of the limelight as one of the most respected players to ever play the game. He has ties to this community and I’m sure would prefer to stay, doing his job as usual, for the same reasons that anybody else would prefer not to change jobs with families, who also have relationships and strong ties. That being said, a person in any profession has to value what he does and in the NFL payment is a measure of respect. Continuing to restructure, year-after-year is not only devaluing your own services, but also accepting disrespect from a franchise to whom you have gone out of your way to accomodate and given your all to. Loyalty cuts both ways and the Cardinals inability to manage their cap finances should not constitute a personal obligation for Fitz (or any other player) to “donate” their services for less than agreed. (Eli Manning isn’t giving a “hometown” discount and the Giants aren’t making a media circus out of it). So,as the franchise continues to try and paint this as Fitz’s decision and based on the issue of money, it’s more than that, and, I believe,was a done deal sometime ago.
    I’ve been a Cards fan for twenty years, when fans sweated it out at Sun Devil stadium for the love of the game and the players, and the visiting fans usually outnumbered our fan base…been all over the country supporting this team with many fond memories, but am now weary and just want this to be over, saddened that this hasn’t been our finest hour, very skeptical of any happy ending.

  25. By Darren Urban on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Restructure

    Agree with most everything you said, except for restructuring “devaluing.”

    Fitz has never once changed his contract to take less money from the Cardinals. When he has done it in the past, all it meant was that he got more money immediately to lessen a cap hit at the moment.

    Fitz has made, as of now, about $125 million from the Cardinals since 2004. I don’t think the Cardinals have shorted him. And, it might be added, one of the reasons there was a huge cap number this year was that it would force a new contract. Same reason Fitz got his last two new contracts — because a giant cap number forced a new deal. This just happens to be the first time where Fitz doesn’t have all the leverage.

  26. By jeffy1951 on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Call Jerry McGuire, maybe Rod Tidwell’s available

  27. By Richard S on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    Az needs to morph into a more passes to the tight end team.

  28. By Andy Kw on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    -We need to improve our RB position through FA:
    Targets: RB Darren McFadden (OAK), Roy Helu (WAS), RB Steven Jackson (ATL, if cut), Mark Ingram (NO)
    -We need to improve our OG position through FA (breakbank)
    Targets: OG Mike Lupati (SF), Orlando Franklin (DEN)
    Draft: C Reese Desmukes (Auburn), C/OT Cameron Erving (FloridaSt)
    -We need to upgrade our OLB position through draft and FA:
    Targets: Draft: OLB Vic Beasley (Clemson), Eric Harold (Virginia), Shaq Thompson (Washington), Lorenzo Mauldin (Louisville)
    FA: OLB Bruce Carter (DAL), Akeem Ayers (NE), Sean Weatherspoon (ATL), Chase Blackburn (CAR, for depth)
    -We need to upgrade at the ILB position through draft and FA:
    Draft: Benardrick McKinney (Mississippi St.)
    FA: ILB Jerrell Freeman (IND), Colin McCarthy (TEN), Arthur Moats (PIT), Casey Matthews (PHI)
    -We need to improve tackling and coverage in secondary:
    FA: SS LaRon Landry (IND), CB Chris Culliver (SF), CB Charles Tillman (CHI), DB Aaron Ross (FA)
    Cut: Darnell Dockett, Lyle Sendlein, Lorenzo Alexander, John Carlson, Ted Ginn Jr. Release Larry Foote, Antonio Cromartie, John Abraham. Restructure D.Washington, Larry Fitzgerald, Calais Campbell, Carson Palmer

  29. By Coach K on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    LARRY’S BEST DEAL IS TO STAY A CARDINAL.

    Who is going to offer him much more $$$ at his age?

    Who is going to have a better supporting cast of receivers to allow Larry one on one opportunities?

    Larry’s branded to Arizona as much as The Bus was branded to Pittsburgh. There is so much more value in that brand AFTER football by staying in Arizona.

    What other team has a better shot than the Cardinals of continuing to improve to a 12 or more win season next year?

    Of course, this depends on upgrading the O-line, getting a big back, and keeping Palmer healthy. If the Cardinals can do that, Larry’s best chance to get his numbers back up is to stay in Arizona.

    Larry is in the same boat as Carson. Both are in the latter part of their careers and both need a Championship in the next couple years. What better motivation than to do it together.

  30. By Robbird on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    I disagree that this is Larry’s decision. He already has a contract and is sticking to it. It’s up to the Cards if they want to break the contract and cut him. If I’m Larry, I’m going to ask when it was decided he’s not the #1 anymore? When did Floyd surpass him? The way I see it, if he’s cut, he can go to another team and be a #1 and not the #2 he is being treated like now. I wish Larry well. He’ll make an impact elsewhere.

  31. By Chuck 1 on Feb 12, 2015 | Reply

    We can thank Rod Graves for the financial situation that Michael and Keim are facing with Fitz.

  32. By Leeskicitizen on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    When the fog of emotions and intangibles clears away we seem to be left with a few points of clarity: 1. How much is Larry really worth either to the Cards or to some other team who would sign him? The answer seems to be hovering around $9 million. 2. The best scenario for the Cardinal’s organization would be to void the current contract and create a new multi-year deal with good achievement incentives along with an injury guarantee clause. 3. The Cards put the fair deal on the table and let Larry make up his mind within a certain time frame. 4. If Larry doesn’t take the fair deal, we then move into drama land and the complications of taking the cap hit for dead money if we can’t trade Larry for a lesser penalty to the team.

    Larry Fitz has been generously taken care of by the Cardinal’s organization over the years. Now it’s his turn to step up and show where his true loyalties really lie. If I were Steve K. and Michael B. I wouldn’t be afraid to stand firm and call his hand.

  33. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Just listened to Keim on D&W. Never felt concerned before that he might get played … cant find word, but “off balanced” comments about Fitz and Parker. Sure hope he doesn’t let this go past 3/10…

  34. By clssylssy on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Darren…
    I don’t think I ever said that Fitz had been shorted by accommodating the team when they asked him to restructure. I believe this is a part of the business that he would prefer to not deal with, but, has to be realistic about in consideration of his future market value, in the quest to attain his ultimate goal. If he doesn’t value what he does, why should he expect anyone else to? The fact is, that by restructuring in the manner that they did, the Card’s were only delaying the inevitable and creating the cap number they are now having to deal with. ( kinda like the IRS; at some point the interest will bury you so the decision becomes is it REALLY worth the paying the interest?) Steve Keim has repeatedly reiterated that Larry’s deal is built into the Card’s budget, so, if that’s truly the case, why is this even a topic for discussion?
    There is no question that football is a different game than what many of us grew up with and so fondly remember. The institution of the Cap is certainly a challenge that teams didn’t have to be shackled with but nonetheless is something all 32 teams now have to navigate, some doing better than others. I do believe that Michael Bidwill inherited a lot of baggage from the old days and that during the transition made some costly mistakes himself, which happens in a family business and you just learn to suck up and move forward with hard learned life lessons a benefit.
    Again, this isn’t about the money anymore but more about honor,respect, and the attainment of personal goals, and while Fitz may not have all the leverage, the Cards even “winning” this battle are doomed to lose in the court of public opinion.
    Production+Durability+Intangibles (leadership, dependability, wide ranging skillset,etc)+Upside (“it factor”, league recognition, merchandise branding, celebrity status)=Value

  35. By D on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Darren-the last time I was in Indy during the combine, Shula’s steakhouse seemed to be a favorite among teams to meet/eat/discuss things…that was many years ago…are you going for the entire combine?
    thanks

  36. By Darren Urban on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Combine

    I will be there Tuesday to Saturday.

  37. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Most of you will disagree because you will think as a fan. As a fan, I want Larry to stay.

    But if I was Larry, I would not redo my contract and force a release. Why?

    His last 3 years here, he has not received for a 1000 yards. Last year, he had 8 games where he had UNDER 40 yards. Are you kidding me?
    He has been asked to block DE and OLBs like a TE. He has been used as a decoy and not the primary target.

    From 2004-2011, he averaged 1200 yards and 9 plus TDs
    From 2012-present , he has averaged 845 yards and 5 TDs per year

    Why have the cards decided not to use him? If I am Larry, I believe I still am a 1000 yd receiver who can score 10 TDs and have 80-90 catches. Don’t you?

    Being the primary target, with a team that has a shot every year at the super bowl is where I would look at. Reggie Wayne is looking to retire. With Moncrief and Hilton and Luck throwing the ball, he could get back to his 1k days with the colts.
    Of course Brady and the pats make sense.

    So does San Diego. So, if he is going to force a release, shouldn’t the cards control where he goes (ie, not to the seahawks)

    Therefore, The cards should trade Larry and get what they can for him, while making sure he is not in the NFC. A few weeks ago, Darren thought the cards could get a 4th rounder for him. I would make that move, because, as everyone has said, it takes two and Larry is not stupid.

  38. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Coach K,

    Larry has said he is a 8-10 million dollar receiver. Whether that is from us or someone else, I agree he should be paid that much.

    Who will give Larry better one on one opportunities?
    How bout the colts? Hilton and Moncrief have speed, run great routes and make catches. If Wayne retires (which he should) , how much more Ideal than catching balls from Andrew Luck, who throws it 50+ times a game.

    Name Branding – Look what Warner did in his short stay here. Heck, he is a hero in two cities. You mean if Larry won a super bowl somewhere else, he wouldn’t be just like Warner?

    What other team has a better shot than the Cardinals of continuing to improve to a 12 or more win season next year?
    Of course, this depends on upgrading the O-line, getting a big back, and keeping Palmer healthy. If the Cardinals can do that, Larry’s best chance to get his numbers back up is to stay in Arizona.

    Uhmm, Patriots, Colts, Seahawks, Chargers, Ravens, all can win 12 games and could use Larry, not to mention, all have franchise QBs who are not on the mend.

    As a fan, who wants to keep Larry, I get how you could think this is the best place, but when you look at how the cards have used him (8 games under 40 yards and 2 total TDs for 2014) , I would be gone.

  39. By D on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG–The problem with your idea of Trading Larry is first a team has to have enough cap space to carry his current deal before any renegotiation with the new team can start. The top 10 teams with Cap space, Jags, Raiders, Browns, Jets, Titans, Colts, Bengals, Bills, Tampa and Broncos.

    So your Indy idea has some merit, but why would a team give up a 4th rounder when there is a 50/50 chance he will be released where as no compensation would be needed. I don’t see a trade being done with Larry.

    To me Larry is a 5-6 mil per year WR, but AZ probably would still pay him 8-9 mil more than he will get if released.

  40. By Big Ken on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    I’m on board with JTDG. Larry has trade value. Lets be realistic. Makes more sense than just cutting him the last minute.

  41. By erik on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    -JTDG

    I completely agree your first post regarding Larry. At this point, I think it would be best for everyone to part ways. I love BA, but Fitz is horribly underused. It is really sad to watch because I think he could get 1,200 yards in his sleep given the opportunity. Trade him, save a bunch of money and look to the future.

    It has not been brought up too much but, I have seen a few fans on here just writing off Dan Williams. To me, he is a must keep. He does not get pushed backwards at the line of scrimmage, he is super quick off the snap, and is a beast against the run. Am I delusional? Why is he not considered a “must sign”? Too much FA depth at the position maybe?

  42. By S.C. Stone on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    http://www.endzonescore.com/will-larry-fitzgerald-retire-cardinal/

  43. By Scott H on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG –

    Just going by what I am hearing, but what I am hearing is that if the Cards RELEASE Fitz, it saves them about 9 million against the cap. But if they TRADE Fitz, they save about 16 million against the cap.

    I really don’t see how Larry can “force” his release. I just don’t think that is gonna happen. Why would the Cardinals do that? That would raise holy hell with the fans AND it is clearly not in THEIR best interests to do that.

    Larry can refuse to take a pay cut, but he’s still under contract to the Cardinals for 2015. At that point, the team could take the stance that you-play-for-us-or-you-don-play-at-all. It would be pretty ugly at that point but I don’t see either side letting it come to that.

    If the numbers above are generally accurate, why release him when that saves you only a certain amount against the cap and you get nothing in return, when you could trade him AND save more against the cap AND get something in return?

    As always, I hope he stays. And, yeah, his current salary number could make trading him a bit of a challenge. But I think if he leaves, it will be via a trade. I do NOT see the Cardinals releasing him. A trade is a better scenario for the player, for the organization, AND ( if it has to happen ) for the fans as well.

  44. By Darren Urban on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Fitz

    Cutting or releasing, Fitz will carry the same dead money. It’s the approximately $9M in cap space.

  45. By Coach K on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG

    I understand your point, but I’m old school and frankly, I never liked this new free agency arrangement. I think guys should stay with the teams that drafted them and the teams live or die with their decisions. Free agency ruined football the way I remembered it. Call me old fashioned, but I miss the legacy players who made teams great by sticking around their entire career.

    Today’s F.A. makes the draft less valuable in my opinion. It’s corrupted the soul of the game and disrupted the childhood hero’s on our favorite teams. I miss that. Today’s FA is like prostitution. It’s just not the same game anymore from a rooting standpoint.

  46. By Dr. G. on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    jtdg is repeating what I wrote long ago… If Fitz took my counsel, he would welcome the cut and try to go where he can play his preferred style. Arians will not accommodate him. I want him in his comfort zone to be at his best.

    For Fitz, how BA uses him is significant. But, I guarantee, he will be happy to block, run cross routes, and play Special Teams for $23.6 Millions.

    I don’t disagree with Arians..! I don’t disagree with Fitz..! That is the rub.

    Now, everyone is still pointing the finger…at the previous GM & HC. This enormous deal did not happen without Michael B’s blessing. It was certainly done with the idea that it would be truncated eventually.

    If Fitz wanted to return for 2015, the deal would be inked by now. Michael and the GM are performing the expected and normal political posturing. Why BA does not defer to them when asked is errant on his part…not his decision.

    Assuredly, he will someday have his name honored in the stadium.

  47. By Dr. G. on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    ScottH… Are you paying Fitz $23.6 MIllion?

    ’tis impossible to do a trade without a new deal; what team would eat that many bananas?

    The fans will understand that “”TEAM IS WHAT MATTERS””

    I wanted Aneas to stay too…later

  48. By Guillermo Rabling on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Trade him… this team need better players

  49. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Erik ,

    Any 3-4 defense must have a good NT to run correctly. So your point of resigning Dan Williams is on point.

    My only issue is, can you upgrade the spot? Would Terrence Knighton or Nick Fairley be better?

    Or, in the draft, there are several good ones you could draft in round one or two.

    I think if you feel the answer to upgrading is no, then yes, he becomes a must sign.

  50. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 13, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H,

    How Fitz can force his release;

    The cards are somewhere between 8.6 and 11 million over the cap, depending on what source you trust.

    They MUST get under the cap. To force the cards to carry that 23 million dollar cap number is a killer. First, how do you get under the cap? Cut Dockett? Not there yet. OK cut Ginn too. Ok now you are closer. Keep going.

    Point is, without Larry’s cap number being reduced, we aren’t signing any free agents. He either has to redo his contract or be released. By refusing to redo his contract would force the cards to either trade or release him.

    As Darren said, the cap savings is the same.

    But I wasn’t taking the side of the cards or the fans. I was saying, if I was Larry and had 8 games where I got less than 40 yards. I ended the year with 2 TDs and I am not sure my QB will be healthy, not to mention, the QB of the future is Logan Thomas, I am looking at all that and thinking, hello Indy.

  51. By jason on Feb 14, 2015 | Reply

    I just read that Keim article and he says we’re $16 million over the salary cap. It makes me wonder where his cap number comes from? Is he factoring in players he want’s to resign and free agent targets and projected offer sheets to those players?

    I understand the business and the numbers, but I refuse to arbitrarily discuss the future of the greatest Cardinal of my generation. My gut tells me that a deal will get done and Larry will never wear another uniform.

    Finally, before I read another offseason post where you blow up the entire roster please keep a few things in mind.

    1. We were 11-5 last season and made the playoffs.
    2. We were 6-0 in games that Carson Palmer started.
    3. Carson Palmer is going to be our QB next year.
    4. We only have 2 pending FA’s that require resign/replacement.

    Obviously, our salary cap situation is the biggest story right now and with good reason….we don’t have any. However, what we do have is a number of veteran contract where we have the monetary advantage. We have the ability to get under the cap even with Fitz’s contract, of course that would not allow us to make impactful improvements in free agency.

  52. By Andy Kw on Feb 14, 2015 | Reply

    Hey Darren, would Jeremiah Bell be interested in being an assistant DB Coach?

  53. By Darren Urban on Feb 14, 2015 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: Bell

    I don’t think they are looking at Bell as a coach.

  54. By jaime on Feb 14, 2015 | Reply

    Last 3 seasons larry has not been healthy thus the reason his yards and tds have went down. This should be taken into consideration. To say he is not being used is arm chair coaches not understanding the dynamics of the game on all level. Quite often he was injured and they kept it a secret or down played it so the attention can still be on him during the game but BA knew they couldnt use him as much as they would like to so they had to scheme accordingly. His injuries placed him as the #3 WR and yet teams still played him as the #1 WR, thus surprising them when he went to block opening up good plays that helped the cards to 11 wins and a wild card appearance. If Larry trully is at 100% next season then 10 Mil, 90% 7 mil and anything lessthen that should be 4 mil, thats his value

  55. By Andy Kw on Feb 14, 2015 | Reply

    My updated 2015 Mock Draft (ARI trades their 1st RD Pick for IND 1st & 3rd)
    1) ILB Paul Dawson (TCU, 6’2” 230lbs)
    2) OLB Lorenzo Mauldin (Louisville, 6’4” 252lbs)
    3) C Reese Dismukes (Auburn, 6’3” 296lbs)
    3) DT/NT Ellis McCarthy (UCLA, 6’5” 330)
    4) WR Stefon Diggs (Maryland, 6’0” 190lbs)
    5) RB John Crockett (North Dakota St, 6’1” 215lbs)
    6) DE Marcus Rush (Michigan St, 6’3” 251lbs)
    7) OT/G Jamil Douglas (Arizona St, 6’4” 300lbs)
    7) CB Jimmy Jean (UAB, 6’2” 201lbs)

    Please tell me what you guys think of this Mock Draft, I will likely try to re post this in the next Darren Urban post:
    -The biggest surprise that could truly benefit the cards is RB John Crockett. He anticipates blitzes and plays quite well. Coming from a small school, he could be a big surprise like John Brown. He can see him competing for one of our 2 open RB spots. Ellington already secures one spot and im sure a Vet FA RB will be his change in pace backup. Kerwynn Williams, Stepfan Taylor, Robert Hughes and Crockett (if drafted) will be competing for the remaining two. Marion Grice and Zach Bowman will be the odd men out.

  56. By LadyBird04 on Feb 15, 2015 | Reply

    Two years Larry Fitz had hamstring issues, this year knee. Hmmm. He hasn’t been playing full strength (health) for three years running yet no one seems to remember this and just point to the qb issues. Several fans have called out several other players and called them “fragile” and injury prone. All players have injuries and wear down after a time. Maybe Larry’s “time” is around the corner.

    Until and unless the issue with Larry is taken care of NONE of our other players that are up for renewal (including reorganizing/restructuring of Dockett’s contract) can be dealt with as Larry’s deal is the elephant in the room. He and everyone need to see things as they are and throw away the rose colored glasses.

    Would really love to see Larry stay in Cardinal red but don’t want that to impede the progress the Cardinal TEAM has made the last two years. As said before, the ball is in Larry’s court and he needs to make a decision and the sooner the better for all concerned.

  57. By brinnc on Feb 15, 2015 | Reply

    Sorry fellow Cardinal fanatics, this is only a test to see if my posts are showing up again. Have had major issues, hopefully fixed now.

    Just so this is a relevant post, come on Fitz, we need you as a Cardinal to lead us to the Podium hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, but everyone knows we cant afford your current cap hit, or salary for that matter!! Please remember, no other team will pay you anywhere near your current contract either!! Please do the right thing and re-do your contract, ie… take one for the team, Tom Brady did it, and you can too, you dont want to be shown up by the likes of Brady now, do you?? LOL!!

  58. By Scott H on Feb 15, 2015 | Reply

    Dr.G. –

    Am I paying Fitz $23.6 million? No, I’m not. Neither are the Cardinals. Neither is anyone else! Do YOU see any team in the NFL paying that number for him?

    IF there were to be a trade, it would most certainly have to involve an agreement from Fitz to re-structure his current contract.and I would assume Fitz and his new team would also be in general agreement about what his new contract will be.

    No one is paying him #23.6 million. And I have certainly never suggested that the Cardinals would or SHOULD do that.

  59. By Scott H on Feb 15, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    I certainly don’t mean to doubt you on the issue of how much the Cardinals save on cap space by either releasing him or trading him. You say the number the team saves is the same either way.

    My post was based on a piece from NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that was up on NFL.com yesterday. And it clearly stated – both in the article as well as in the video that ran with the piece – that the team would save roughly $9 million by releasing Fitz and roughly $16 million by trading him. That point was stressed a few times during the video. Feel free to look it up.

    I’m just wondering about the disparity between the two sides here.

  60. By Darren Urban on Feb 16, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Numbers

    I do not know how Ian — who is very good at his job — got that. I know I asked a cap expert earlier in the offseason and then had it confirmed later that the numbers are the same.

    Now, if they cut him and make it a June 1 designated cut, I do believe they could save $16M this year, but it also means $7.5M of dead money still in 2016 instead of Fitz’s contract being wiped off the books. It gets a little sticky when you start factoring in the roster bonus he will be due. That complicates not only a trade deadline but also the cap ramifications.

  61. By Andy Kw on Feb 16, 2015 | Reply

    Darn it,
    We could have picked up Tim Hightower 😭😭😭

  62. By Coach K on Feb 16, 2015 | Reply

    Kendricks seems to be getting lots of pres as the Cardinals target. So I’ve revised my mock draft to include him since he has great cover skills.

    1. Erik Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
    2. Hauoli Kikaha, OLB, Washington
    3. Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon
    4. D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
    5. David Cobb, RB, Minn.
    6. Adam Shead, G, Oklahoma
    7. Sean Mannion, QB, Oreg. St
    7b. Cam Thomas, CB, W. Kentucky

    This draft gives us two elite players at inside and outside backer, and lots
    of competition at offensive line.

  63. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 16, 2015 | Reply

    Wow,

    Did not know about the June 1 cut that would free up 16 million. Yes, it still gives us 7.5 million of dead money for 2016, but that is something we could absorb.

    Between Dockett’s 6 million and Fitz’s 16 million , along with guys like Ginn (1.5) and others, we could actually be able to free up 15 million for some FAs.

    Putting emotion aside, It really is the only logical path for the cards.

  64. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 16, 2015 | Reply

    Coach K,

    Finally coming around on Kendricks ! The guy can cover and is a tackling machine.

    I like the first two picks, but to honest, don’t know much about your center except he is rated the second best center.

    Are you thinking of releasing Sendlin? If not, seems high for a back up because he seems light to play right guard. (297)

    I think Cobb won’t last till the 5th round. I would switch Cobb up to round 3 and take BJ Finney (6’4″ and 324) at center in the 5th round. Finney could play right guard or center.

    Also, 4th round is high for Humphries. I think there are 5-6 guys I would take at RT over him.

  65. By Coach K on Feb 16, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG

    I like Finney a ton and that switch makes good sense. Cobb is not going to last until the fifth round, but I had to move him to make room for Grasu and Humphries. You move actually makes more sense and gives us an equally decent center prospect in round five. I like it.

  66. By Scott H on Feb 16, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    RE: Numbers

    OK, thanks. Really, I understand very little about any of this, so I go on what I hear from sources that seem reliable. I hate numbers. So, I leave the math to others! 🙂

    But the other thing I get confused on is this – I’m using the word TRADE while you are using the word CUT. TRADING Fitz is what Rapoport said would save the Cards roughly $16 million against the cap. Sounds like you are saying that would probably be saving the same figure if they made him a designated June 1st CUT.

    Do these basically mean the same thing, then? Last request for clarity on this. I promise.

  67. By Darren Urban on Feb 17, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H–

    RE: Trade

    Generally, in the NFL, trading a player has the same cap consequences as cutting a player (and not making it a June 1 designation.)

  68. By Scott H on Feb 16, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG –

    RE: the only logical path for the Cards

    Damn you and your logic, man! Should we start calling you Spock ( The Draft Guy ) ??? 🙂

  69. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 17, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H,

    Logic;

    I think that if you are going to be a good GM, you can not be caught up in hype, or caught up with emotion.

    You must think what is best for the 2015, 2016, 2017…..cardinals.

    The fans want Fitz. I love him too. Fitz and Warner are the only two football autographs I have (both gifts). I have come on here many times and said Larry, during his stretch of 2006-2011 was the best receiver in football. I love the guy.
    If he had Montana and Young, he would be up there with Rice as G.O.A.T.

    Being 11 million (as Darren reports) over the cap means players have to be cut or renegotiated. You must get to 0 soon. Then you throw in trying to sign players to fill holes.

    Looking at that cold fact, you then look at Larry and his salary, knowing he alone can bring you to 0 and beyond. 16 million in relief. One cut and you are 5 million under the cap. Dockett is another guy, who played well for the cards for so many years, but is aging and coming off a major injury. Cutting him brings another 6 million in cap relief. The you can clean up things with cutting guys like Ginn and Alexander and others that can get you to 15-16 million under the cap.

    On the flip side, keeping Larry and renegotiating his salary to 8-10 million(as Larry said he is worth) could give you relief in the cap of maybe millions. But if you think Larry is signing a 1 year deal with no guarantees, you are not paying attention. I would say Larry’s new contract would be 4 years at 40 million.

    The one saving grace is if you are willing to let Floyd go next year. If you do not resign Floyd and let him walk, draft another WR and pair him with Brown, and get Larry to accept a 4 year 32 million dollar deal, Now that makes sense.

    Finally, as Keim has said, it takes two. Does Larry want to stay? He has an aging QB coming off injury and is asked to block DE and OLBs. He is coming off a terrible year stat wise and had 3 years under 1000 yards. Will BA use him as a premier WR? Will BA design plays to get him the ball? BA already said No.
    So, if you are Fitz, do you want to stay or test the market? Luck to Fitz seems very logical to me.

  70. By Scott H on Feb 17, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG –

    First, hopefully, you took my last post with the humor that was intended.

    Yeah, I get it about the whole emotion vs logic thing. And I know which one a pro sports franchise is going to operate by. What’s the old saying – if GM’s started thinking like the fans do, then it wouldn’t be long before they would be sitting with them in the stands.

    But I’m not a GM. I’m a fan and I can only see and feel the world through the lens of a fan. And I know you get that, so…onward.

    I am absolutely paying attention, and that’s why I wouldn’t in my wildest fantasies consider the remote possibility of Fitz signing a one-year deal with no guarantees. Who said anything about that??? Wasn’t me!

    Do you agree with Fitz’ assessment that he is a 8-10 million dollar WR? I would say that I do. And I think there are teams out there that would absolutely give him that to come play for them. So….IF that were accurate, then I guess the Cardinals would have to be prepared to enter that neighborhood to keep him. Are they willing to do that? Who knows?

    Haven’t heard either side say anything about giving OR getting a home-town discount….I wonder if Fitz is willing to do that to stay here.

    I hear you about what this past year was like for Fitz with a reduced role in the offense, more blocking, etc. I have no doubt that will be among his considerations. But I think AT THIS POINT, what matters the most for Fitz is being where he will have a legit chance to get back to and win a SB. And if he is looking at the Cardinals as a legit contender right now, than I think that helps.

    Shoot, if the roof hadn’t imploded this season with our QB’s and that Cards had made it to the SB, do you think Fitz would have cared about his stats or having to do some more blocking during the season? I think he would gladly trade pro bowl stats to hoist a Lombardi trophy!

    For what it’s worth, I think the whole thing about his being under 1000 yards 3 years in a row is way over-played. And I’ve expounded on this before. Seriously, with the QB’s we had in 2012, Fitz ( and any other WR on the planet ) would have needed 30 games to reach 1000 yards. NOT his fault. 2013 was a GREAT bounce-back year for Fitz with double-digit TD’s and he was over 950 yds for the season, wasn’t he? A GREAT season, whether he reached 1000 yds or not! and 2014? He played only 6 games with Palmer, so it was another season of rotating QB’s. Factor in a several games missed or limited by injuries, and….a lot went against him.

    In terms of sheer ability, I do NOT think his days as a 1000-yd WR are over. But he COULD be limited by the play-calling and his role in the offense. As you pointed out, I’m sure he will think about that.

  71. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 18, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H,

    Of course I saw the humor. I thought the spock line was funny.

    I also think Larry can and will get a 4 year deal worth 32-40 million. I think he is clearly worth it.

    Second, I applaud you for being the first person to actually look up the stats for Larry. As I posted that he has had 3 straight years under a 1000 and BA is not using him, no one challenged me.

    Yes, Fitz put up 10 TDs and just under a 1000 yards with Palmer playing all 16 games (even though he was just learning the offense) . So, if Palmer stayed healthy (and Fitz too), would his stats be much better in 2014?

    As for winning, I think he can do that in several other cities. No, I don’t see him signing with the Browns, Raiders, or Redskins. But the Colts, Patriots, and Seahawks all make sense.

    I think Larry thinks about legacy. I think he wants rings and he want the HOF. The Patriots seem to be getting to the super bowl a lot. Catching a 80 passes a year for 1400 yards and 15 tds from Brady for the next couple years (which are legit numbers I think Larry can get with Tom) sure would cement his HOF chase.

    I think the cards will make a fair offer to Larry. Maybe even over pay him. But as the article says, it takes two. I don’t know Larry and I don’t talk with him. So I am only speculating. (we know how Larry’s Dad feels about it all- complaining Larry is being used as a TE) But it seems to me, if I was Larry, it would be wise to see what opportunities were out there. I’m sure his agent has already figured what opportunities are out there.

    So, it takes two.

  72. By Scott H on Feb 18, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG –

    Well, bud, we can close the book on this one! Just saw the news that a new deal has been done!!! Fitz is in the fold and cap room was made! As they say, it’s all good. REEEEEEAL good!!!!

    Hopefully, you are as jacked as I am! Catch up with ya on another blog soon.

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