It was necessary and inevitable, really, Tuesday’s news that Larry Fitzgerald restructured his contract to create more cap room. It seemingly all came together so quickly (although no way to know how long talks have actually going on) that you figure it’s a straight deal to lower his 2014 salary. If that’s the case, there will be discussion on this again next year, as can be seen on this hypothetical put together by overthecap.com. There will be some massive cap hits sooner than later. But that’s a blog post for next February, I suppose.
Today, the Cardinals are in a good spot to work through the 2014 offseason. You figure Fitz’s restructure buys the Cards probably around $10 million in cap space depending on how much money they want to give him now.
(Again, a restructure is essentially a paperwork move to impact the cap. No new money is given and Fitz certainly does not take a pay cut. Say for argument’s sake the Cards want to shave $10 million off Fitz’s scheduled $12.75 million salary. Instead of him getting that money 1/17th at a time in his regular-season paychecks, he gets one giant check now. Then the Cards can spread that $10 million over the remaining years of his deal, in this case five years. At $2 million a year, that lets them take $8 million off his $18-plus million cap number.)
UPDATE: The numbers are beginning to leak out, and it’s as expected: The Cards made $11.75 million of the $12.75 million into a bonus due in March, meaning Fitz’s official salary is down to $1 million in 2014, his cap number drops by about $10 million (getting the team $9.4 million of cap space) and again, making his future cap hits that much more bulky. This will be a problem that will be needed to be dealt with again in February of 2015.
The big result of this — compared to, for example, the protracted Fitzgerald negotiations of 2007 that took the Cards into the free-agent period — is that it happened so early in the offseason. There is more than a month left before free agency starts, meaning the Cardinals not only have plenty of time to re-sign their own guys before they hit the market and now, they have cap space too.
Tags: Larry Fitzgerald
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