Ramifications, short- and long-term, of Fitz’s deal

Posted by Darren Urban on August 22, 2011 – 1:25 pm

The immediate impact of Larry Fitzgerald’s new contract is obvious. He won’t be going anywhere, and the tension around that situation is wiped out going into the season. That’s certainly true for the organization as a whole and for the fan base. But what about the team itself? Fitz was going to play in Arizona this season, regardless. So does this change anything?

“Maybe getting Larry to pay for their dinners, it might,” coach Ken Whisenhunt cracked.

But Whiz did get serious. “Larry has been very generous with his guys,” he said, noting Fitzgerald organized a team night out at Buffalo Wild Wings in Flagstaff earlier in camp. “Larry gets it, and that’s one of the reasons it was so important we got the deal done with him. He’s been a tremendous leader, he’s grown a lot in what we want him to do. It wasn’t always easy, because understanding the burden that comes on you as a great player, it’s not something that’s natural, especially someone who shies from the spotlight like Larry.

“When you recognize what a tremendous player he is and the accomplishments he has had over the last few years, it’s goes a long way that our team and (president) Michael Bidwill recognize that and are willing to do those deals.”

Whisenhunt further praised Bidwill, not only for the free-agent moves/trades of the offseason (Face it, Fitz was probably going to test the market if the Cards had not upgraded the roster) but also for the rapid way Fitz’s new contract was completed.

(UPDATE: Here is an awesome breakdown by Andrew Brandt of not only this Fitz contract, but all three Fitz contracts).

“There was mention we were going to get Larry done, we were motivated to do that before the season starts,” Whisenhunt said. “Say what you want to say, but the deal is done. Larry is a great player, there are a lot of teams that would have liked an opportunity at him, and they won’t get it because ownership stepped up.”

The leadership aspect isn’t a small one. If you would have asked me when Fitz showed up in 2004 if he’d ever be a big leader, I’d have said no. Heck, he would have too. He wanted no part of that at the time. Things change. So too has Fitz. I can see that, and so can everyone else. We will see what the actual numbers crunch out to when Fitz’s contract leaks out (and it always does) but the Cards aren’t paying $15 million a year or whatever it is just for 95 catches and 1,200 yards. They are paying for the guy who may be among the top five recognizable faces — player-wise — in the NFL. They are paying for his profile and his good-guy image, perfect as the face of a franchise.

They are paying for his connections. We joke about Fitz having worked out with almost every guy the Cards have signed, and it’s an exaggeration, but he does know everyone. That, Whisenhunt acknowledged (plus the Cards’ willingness to pay for the right guys), can help in free agency down the road when trying to recruit players.

Plus there is the knowledge he will be here long-term (just like quarterback Kevin Kolb) and that provides some stability. Did the Cards overpay? Let’s see where wide receiver contracts go in the next couple of years before that’s judged. Besides, the Cards are getting more than just a receiver with Fitz. They needed to keep him around for a bunch of reasons.

“If anyone deserves that, it’s him,” quarterback Kevin Kolb said. “There is no doubt he is our leader.”

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Posted in Blog | 35 Comments »

35 Responses to “Ramifications, short- and long-term, of Fitz’s deal”

  1. By Daniel Medina on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Congratulations!! You deserve the best deal, Larry!

  2. By Ernie on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, I am more proud than ever to wear cardinal red anywhere I go.

  3. By Peter on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Ramifications of deal short & long-term:
    Larry Fitzgerald
    Ramifications of no deal short & long-term:
    No Larry Fitzgerald

    I’m no expert, but I like the first one better… I remember Whiz talking about players that you can build a team around and if you can’t build a team around Fitz… well you have bigger problems

  4. By Vas on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Great job cardinals for stepping up to the plate and signing the best reciever in football.Congrats Larry Fitzgerald.Now lets go win the N.F.C WEST !

  5. By Steve Nealy on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Spot on, Darren. I was amazed at some of the negative posts on the AzCentral boards (though I shouldn’t have been) regarding this deal.

    Living in Indianapolis it has been easy to see what happens when an organization hits it correctly in the draft. The Colts could not have had their unprecedented run of regular season successes without #18. Yet, he means as much to the franchise – and to the city itself – than simply W’s on Sunday.

    The same is true with Fitz. Having a face of the franchise – and community – is an opportunity that is never guaranteed. Seeing Fitzgerald on commercials and on magazine covers never hurts the Cardinals. Yet, if he was just a good football player on Sundays and a dope of a human the other six days, it wouldn’t be worth it. Luckily for Cards fans (everywhere), #11 is as good at being a person as he is at catching footballs.

  6. By ProSportsPhoenix on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Larry is not just a building block of this team; he is a builder of this team. Ken, Rod and Mike’s jobs become much easier with Larry’s help. Larry is doing exactly what needs to be done to build a Super Bowl Team and a team with longevity.

    Cards dynasty. 😉

  7. By Greg Miller on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Huge thanks to Michael Bidwell for getting this done along with the other major signings, these are NOT the same ole Cardinals!!!!!!!!!!

  8. By Honda Doug on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply


  9. By fightingbird on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Im glad this deal got done and the other deals but some you cant get done and so the world keeps turning.We live 45 min. from charlotte NC and are Cardinal fans and I have been since I was a boy 7 years old to be exact and im 47 now.All Ive ever wanted is to watch the cardinals play a home game so that we can be a part of that prestige so after watching the Cardinals every other year at carolina stadium we myself and my wife are flying to arizona to finally watch the Cardinals beat the Panthers I CANT WAIT!!!!!!!

  10. By cheesebeef on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Dear Darren,

    after being a vocal out-spoken member of the negative nancy crowd for… well.. years, you’ll be happy to know i officially have ZERO complaints about this contract… about our off-season… and truthfully… ANYTHING that happens for the rest of the season. The single most important win of the season was getting Larry signed to this contract. Anything else that happens at this point is just gravy. Congrats to everyone involved with the Cardinals organization.


  11. By Darren Urban on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Cheese —

    RE: Your comments

    I am speechless. I am without speech.

  12. By Brandon on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    And my #11 jersey will live on…great job, Cardinals front office. What a great move for so many reasons (all of which Darren explained above). My plan to name my future dog “Fitz” when I can get him in a few months is still in place…

  13. By Eric on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, I think its funny how the Boo Birds that find the negative in EVERYTHING can still find something negative about this. I grew up in Texas and was an Oiler fan until 1997 when Adams moved the team to Tenn. Talk about an organization taking a @#%$ on its loyal fans. I moved here in 1998 an adopted the Cardinals as my new team and it has been a constant improvement since then. Starting with beating Dallas in the playoffs that year, all the way to building the stadium and hiring Whiz. I absolutely love this team and am so excited about the future, and signing Fitz and Kolb were just a couple more victorys for the fans and Phoenix in general. I can honestly see this team improving everyday, and think we will have a legitimate shot back at the Super Bowl in a couple years, and can definetely see this dynasty building. Thank you Bidwills, and to the TRUE fans that understand how far this team has come, and have stood by and supported this team and maintained a positive attitude towards it, isn’t it an awesome day to be a Cards fan?

    GO CARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. By Rugbymuffin on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    As Mike Holmgren said about Reggie White, “Worth every penny.”

    Fitzgerald is “worth every penny”.

    Overpay ? LOL. Only haters are going to say that. The deal sounds good to me.

    I will say that it helps the fan base to have at least a few players that stay around after their rookie contracts are up, and a few that stay Cardinals for life.

    #11 will be forever remembered in Cardinal red.

  15. By AndyStandsUp on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    I like the long term effects of keeping Fitz with hopefully (for the team), his last contract.
    The short term issues will be unveiled when the details are released.
    A few questions, please Darren.
    Do you have any idea how sales for Saturday’s game going? (Deadline is Wednesday at 1PM, unless given an extension, correct?)
    And with the lockout, do you expect Whiz to have a “Movie day”? It seems to be a tradition/superstition with him.

  16. By Darren Urban on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Questions

    Haven’t heard on the ticket sales at all. As for movies, this camp is unlike any other. And one of the reasons for movie day was to give players a rest from a two-a-day. Since there are no more such things, not sure if it still makes sense.

  17. By Andy on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Did Arizona get anyone in the supplemental draft?

  18. By Darren Urban on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Andy —

    RE: Supplemental draft


  19. By steve on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    been a cardz fan for 50 years from st louis days. have to say seen great things last few wekks with cardinals. no matter if these deals turn out good are not they seem to be trying to improve. picking up players here and there. the fitz deal is awesome glad for him and the cardinals both. keep up good work bidwill.



  20. By AZCoyotes on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Love these Cardinals!

  21. By Don't Take Losses on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply


  22. By Javi on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    darren, i dont know if you pay attention to sports tonight show on NBC, FOX or ABC on sunday nights but on the NBC version of sports tonight a football analysis thinks that the cardinals want their widerecievers to grow, but he also said that he thinks the CARDS will still try to get a #2 reciever in free agency do you agree? and if not why not and if so who?

  23. By Darren Urban on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Javi —

    RE: No. 2 WR

    No, I don’t expect them to chase anyone else, although they will keep their eyes open to possibilities.

  24. By cactus jeff on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    good–Housler big and fast
    Bad–Dan Williams 2 tackles in 2 preseason games
    ugly–looks like patrick peterson is a safety

  25. By InFitzWeTrust11 on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    What happened to the old bidwells, what did you do with them!? lol

  26. By Earl BB on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply


  27. By Darren Urban on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Everyone —

    RE: Owners’ name spelling.

    Don’t forget it is BidWILL.

  28. By Dylan Clarke on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren I read a somewhere (im pretty sure this on this website) that Alfonso Smith is a speedster? do you know his 40 time?

  29. By Darren Urban on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Dylan —

    RE: Alfonso Smith 40

    His best time when he was coming out was reportedly a 4.30.

  30. By westside cards fan on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply


    1st: The news of this contract and Iwemba’s return have lifted my spirits after the Ryan Williams injury.

    2nd: Your analysis of the intangible upside of Fitz as the unspoken recruiter is spot on. When potential players look around to where they might want to move, they not only will see an Arizona of affordable housing and sunny, fresh and cool winters, they will see the opportunity to play with one of the NFL’s most humble, gracious, yet viciously talented players in Fitz. Not to mention that the organization’s aggressiveness in getting the deal done will show any future prospects that they can come to Arizona and expect to be treated fairly.

    My faith in the franchise has been restored. GO RED C!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. By cards62 on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Darren I have zero problems with the Larry F. signing. J. Weaver Angels pitcher signed a 5 year deal for $ 17 million a season. Fitz is a bargain especially over the next 8 years based upon the way our society values athletes & entertainers.

    Like one of our posters stated FItz or Manning representing your team and city. You can not ask for any better representation.

    I am shocked that Larry signed the deal without an escape clause if we do not reach the playoffs for 2 years in a row he becomes a free agent. I just thought he worked so hard to secure his freedom that he would nver give it up. Hopefully this tells us Larry likes most of what he sees our orgainization doing.

    I do have a question about our salary cap for 2011. How much after the Fitz deal is left for 2011?

    Go Cards beat the Chargers

  32. By Darren Urban on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    cards62 —

    RE: Cap

    Still don’t know that. I don’t know if it was greatly impacted; his cap number was already going to be $11 million or something. Even if that’s $14 million now (I am randomly using a number) that’s just three more taken from the previous available number.

    As for the escape clause, you don’t get $47 million guaranteed AND an escape clause. The team has to get something.

  33. By Nathan on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Do you know how well the pre season tickets are selling?
    Will it be sold out, or will it be like the Oakland game… in other words, no one there.

  34. By Darren Urban on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Nathan —

    RE: Tickets

    I won’t hear until tomorrow, probably, when the 72-hour window approaches.

  35. By Dan Thanos on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    DATING myself been a Cardinals fan since 1959 in Chicago now a proud season ticket holder great job during the off season

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