Jumping cap doesn’t change Fitz decision

Posted by Darren Urban on February 28, 2014 – 4:31 pm

The salary cap for 2014 was officially set at $133 million this season, a jump of $10 million over last season — huge for any team looking for flexibility to do business (and a boon for those hoping for big-time extensions like Patrick Peterson). And Adam Schefter reported this morning that the cap will be more than $140M next year and then $150M by 2016. All great news for the Cards, with Steve Keim already working hard to get the cap situation under control by next year anyway.

I’ve had a few ask me about Cards’ cap space now. With a $133M and the Jasper Brinkley release today (creating $2M in cap space), the Cards should have a little more than $18M of space.

Some suggested to me earlier today, after the Schefter report, that it will make things easier with Larry Fitzgerald going forward. That probably is true. But with that bloated $23.6M cap figure for 2015, it still stands to reason that a major decision is coming after this year for both the Cardinals and Fitzgerald. Keim reiterated for the umpteenth time at the Scouting combine the plan is for Fitzgerald to remain a Cardinal for his whole career. But the reality is this, and it’s been covered many times as well — with a big roster bonus due, that unwieldy cap number, and the unrealistic idea that the Cards can simply keep kicking Fitz’s cap pain into future years as he gets older, Fitzgerald is probably going to have to agree to take less money in 2015 than he is now currently scheduled. If he says no, that puts the ball back in the Cardinals’ court with Keim facing one of his famous “tough decisions.”

But that’s another reason why the news the cap is growing so quickly can benefit the Cardinals. Keim has been adept already at maneuvering the roster anyway. To be able to have more space to really stretch his legs and build how he wants to build plays into that sustained success he so often speaks about. The Cards want to build with draft picks and lock up young stars. That’s the plan. That the Cards seemingly will have weathered their cap overhaul under Keim and stayed competitive is impressive.


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35 Responses to “Jumping cap doesn’t change Fitz decision”

  1. By andystandsup on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Just don’t do the bloated contract to an average player trap that so many teams fall into.
    Please, just for once, use common sense.

  2. By Chris B on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Raising the cap that fast by that much makes it seem like teams can keep more of their key players. Or; those key players are just going to get paid a lot more money now.

  3. By Craig on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    With all the talented receivers coming out of the draft every year, is it really necessary to keep paying Fitz all that ridiculous money? Especially when we want to get younger, stronger and faster.

  4. By Trent Lane on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    To me the increased cap makes it more likely that Dansby walks. I really like him as a player, but he has always seemed to be an all about the money guy. Some team with a shorter term vision, or less astute front office will now be more likely throw big money at him; Raiders/Browns etc… This is the year he decides to take a little less for stability and success, or stays the “let’s make a splash” persona. That is just my opinion, what do you think?

    On a side note, if any of the top 4 or 5 qbs in the draft start to slide, do you see the Cardinals trying to jump up a few spots? I know Keim likes BPA drafting, but if a guys grade sticks way out there (at a need position) and he is slipping a little, i could see the aggressive nature take hold and the Cards go after their guy.

  5. By Darren Urban on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply

    Trent —

    RE: Dansby

    You make sense. But we will see. The Cards won’t give Karlos a nutty contract just to keep him. That’s the reality.

  6. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    It will be a shame to let Andre Roberts go this year and then not be able to sign Fitzgerald after the 2014 season. Do the Cards really want to be stuck without a true #2 wideout again and have their #1 received double- and triple-teamed every play?

    As much as it pains me, I just don’t see Fitz being around for the 2015 season with his 23.6 cap figure and a younger Patrick Peterson entering his prime needing an extension to be on the team in 2015 and beyond.

    If Fitz isn’t willing to take a big pay cut in 2015, it’s impossible to justify keeping him at even his current salary with his declining production — a lot of which is not his fault but rather awful QB and offensive line play and a change in coaching philosophy.

    If the Cards want to win a Super Bowl with Fitz, it has to be now. And how sweet would that be to win it all in U of Phoenix stadium.

  7. By georgiebird on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    The next two years are critical for the Cards. Unlike other teams, the Cards are trying to get past the two best teams in the NFL. No one else, in the history of the divisional era of the NFL, has experienced this unenviable task.
    In the absence of a young franchise QB, the Cards have to be much better than the 49ers and Seahawks in the other (non-QB) positions.
    Of course Fitz will have to be cut loose after the 2014 season- there is too much money tied up in one aging player – the rest of the team has to get much better.
    We need more play makers.
    These are the areas that the Cards have to correct in the draft/FA
    1) kickoff/punt returns
    2) speed WR
    3) RB
    4) young QB to be groomed for the 2015 season
    5) pass rushing DE
    6) LBs with high ceilings (not aging guys having a good season)
    7) TE who can stay on the field and with the smarts of Jake Ballard
    Any LT taken in this draft (or a reject/high priced FA) will be hard pressed to protect a statue like CP who will be blitzed unmercifully in the 2014 season.

  8. By Coach K on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Steve is doing an amazing job managing the Cardinals and arranging contracts to keep everyone happy. Not an easy job. And I’m sure he will take care of players who prove their worth like Dansby and T’amu.

  9. By tyman on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Keeping a guy like Fitz shows team loyalty.
    If we make the playoffs, just think back to the super bowl run. That was one of the greatest wide-out performances of all time. Fitz is the greatest Cardinal of all time, and the team needs to show the Loyalty too that.

  10. By Frank Thomas on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Let’s see if Keim has the onions to get rid of Fitz

  11. By Coach K on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    My updated mock with a steal in the fifth round:

    Rd1- Kony Ealy, DE
    Rd2- Deone Bucannon, S
    Rd3- Joel Bitonio, OT
    Rd4- Bruce Ellington, WR
    Rd5- Colt Lyerla, TE (drug issues behind him, Colt gives us elite speed at TE)
    Rd6- Ross Cockrell, CB

  12. By ored on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    just need to keep contracts responsible,if your gonna pay top dollar then make sure it’s at least in the players prime,not into his mid 30’s.we should have a policy of big contracts ending at age 30 or there abouts.blow them away with a big contract after their rookie years with the understanding the cut off is 30.

  13. By Amir on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Thanks, Rod Graves, for putting us into this Fitz cap hell…

  14. By Eazy E on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply

    Fitz is beloved by each and every sane Cardinal fan! Don’t let him go no matter what!

  15. By Rich on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply

    Liked Brinkley, but understand why they let him go. Now, IL is a little dicey (Washington court issues, Los free agent, Minter unproven). I’m guessing they think they have a real shot at signing Jackson is Los goes elsewhere – or they wouldn’t have made the Brinkley move.

  16. By Rich on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply


    Any rumblings of concern over Minter’s size and pass coverage ability. He looks like a big run stopper and block shedder. But I worry about his pass coverage.

  17. By Darren Urban on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply

    Rich —

    RE: Minter pass coverage

    Unlike Dansby, I wouldn’t be surprised if Minter came out in nickel.

  18. By birdnerd on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply

    The one sentence that sends chills down the spine of competent GM’s: “the team has glaring holes going into the draft’. That’s what makes a #28 bpa, get picked at #20. I really hope they are able to find their LT in free agency…don’t like the options picking at #20.. That’s the one position, they may have to overspend a bit on. With the potential risk of losing Roberts this year, and unless the Cardinals get very creative Fitzgerald next year, they really need to shop early for a difference maker at receiver…love Cooks, but there should be some really great options at #20. As we all know it generally takes a year or so for most receivers to smooth out the rough edges. I know that a lot of successful teams have made a living off of free agent receivers, but the early dearth of talent in this years draft to me is quite remarkable. Cooks speed and talent combination makes me slobber.

  19. By djjackson81 on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply

    The Brinkley release is for one of 2 reason either it was because Cardinals feel Dansby is close to their offer. Or simply there back up plan in Jackson they feel will come to AZ. I keep seeing Dansby and Cards have been negotiating with Cards offer already offered. If the number being exchanged are close then Keim feels a deal will be reached enough to release Brinkley. If Dansby counter was so far apart then Keim wouldn’t cut loose Brinkley.

  20. By ored on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply

    improve the o-line and it cuts down on sacks and improves the ground game (it’s not like teams were’nt aware last year), does’nt matter if the lb is young or an older vet,production matters. i do agree we should go for a play making WR that can help with punt/kick returns,and who knows,floyd may be #1 next year and then he’ll need a #2.TE also improves with o-line upgrade.we still have lbs’ that need their chance to prove themselves.

    it looks like the most bang for the buck still remains LT and then a safety to cover opposing TEs,those two improvements by themselves improves the team,depending on free agency,we will still have at least 4 picks to go where ever we want and maybe all 6 home run scenario would be to sign collins at LT,jared allen as passrusher and draft the bama safety,then let keim do his thing.

  21. By shannon robinson on Mar 2, 2014 | Reply

    The Cards’ unrestricted free agents cost $17 million in cap space last year. We have about that much available cap space now. We are letting most of these players go.The Cardinals are in the middle of the pack league wide as far as available contract dollars. Looking at free agents across the league and you quickly realize that we have a buyer’s market again this year. When Bruce says we’re looking at 5 contract offers, it’s easy to name the positions they’re filling. Some of these targeted players won’t sign right away. Frostee’s my best example and there are a lot of guys who’ll be looking for work who are in the same value as Shaughnessy was last year.

  22. By Andy Kw on Mar 2, 2014 | Reply

    When will this team cut OG Daryn Colledge & RB Ryan Williams?
    -There is no reason why we should keep Ryan Williams. He has been in the NFL for 3 seasons and has yet to play in one full season or score a touchdown. He had his chances but he wasted them all with his injuries.
    -OG Daryn Colledge played well last season but he is way too expensive to keep. Our 2013 first round pick OG Jonathan Cooper returns from IR and is ready to claim his Left Guard Role. RG Paul Fanaika is younger and has surprisingly played really well.

    -If we release both of these players, we get more cap room to sign players to extensions (Patrick Peterson) and more cap room to sign free agents (K Dansby)

  23. By John The Draft Guy on Mar 2, 2014 | Reply

    As for Larry Fitzgerald;

    Why try to make decisions on Fitz now. Let the year play out, then you can decide.

    Let’s face it, if Larry goes 90 catches, 1400 yards and 10 tds, you will have a different opinion than if he goes, 60 catches, 650 yards and 3 tds. Right??

    All I know is we were able to clear up cap space this year with Fitz and we have a little money to make this year work. We will see next year, next year.

  24. By birdnerd on Mar 2, 2014 | Reply

    Re: Ored

    You know, I love bananas and blueberries. So if someone asks me if I want banana cream pie or blueberry it is always a tough call. Pass rusher, Safety, CB or WR. The only thing that really pushes me to the WR is the First Round talent that could be superstars in this league that will be available in the first round. There will be some good talent available later, but all have some glitches/weaknesses that may or may not be corrected. I believe Floyd has the potential to be a very good player, but will he be a star?…or No. 1? The thing I love about Cooks, it really shakes up the 3 or 4 receiver sets. You have two big strong receivers (Floyd/Fitzgerald), and a really talented, fast run after the catch type receiver, you start moving them around, and they would be very difficult to defend, can you imagine the WR screen sets they could run with Floyd, Fitzgerald, blocking, with Cooper, pulling and the ball in Cooks hands…I see money!

  25. By Andy Kw on Mar 2, 2014 | Reply

    Once we cut OG D. Colledge & RB R. Williams, our cap space should move to a little over $21 million. If we keep Williams, this will be one mistake in the Keim-Arians era. Restructuring the contracts of C. Palmer, D. Dockett, J. Powers, & D. Washington should bring our cap to a little over $31 million

    Who to sign (fine, forget WR/KR Dexter McCluster):
    -Sign CB P.Peterson to a 5yr $35.5 million contract ($7 million for 2014)
    There, we lock up our future. But please, can’t you just wait until next year.
    -OT Branden Albert (KC) – 3yr $14.5 million contract ($5 million for 2014)
    Signing him will make this year a Playoff Year.
    -ILB Karlos Dansby -3yr $11 million contract ($4 million for 2014)
    A contract that he can’t refuse.
    -SS Chris Clemons (MIA) -2yr $6 million contract ($3 million for 2014)
    I wouldn’t mind seeing Bell back but Clemons is much younger.
    -OT Eric Winston -2yr $5.5 million contract ($3.5 million for 2014)
    Too afraid to gamble our success on Bobby Massie.
    -DE Frostee Rucker -1yr $1.3 million contract
    -LB Marcus Benard -1yr $1.5 million contract
    -DB Sergio Brown (IND) -1yr $800K contract

    -Please feel free to give suggestions on who to sign

  26. By jasonc on Mar 2, 2014 | Reply

    Spent time watching a lot of Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, Marcus Smith and Aaron Donald video this weekend and I’m going to just say it…..Marcus Smith is the best of those three edge defenders and Aaron Donald could be our pick @20 if he is still on the board. I think I’d take him after Ealy but before Ford.

  27. By Coach K on Mar 2, 2014 | Reply

    Jasonc, I have to agree with you on Aaron Donald. I think if he falls, it would be a great pick. If not, then I feel Timmy Jernigan is solid as well. A few days ago I thought Kony Ealy might be a fit, but then I read his 40 time was only 4.90 and his adp score was low as well. So fro me, Donald or Jernigan would be great picks at #20. There is also a strong possibility of a high rated left tackle falling to #20 with all the high caliber wide receivers moving up. If not, then Branden Albert is another possibility. We definitely have more options with this very deep draft class.

  28. By Andy Kw on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Nice, lets get Aqib Talib

  29. By Scott H on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Geez,,,why does it seem like Fitz’ contract is an issue EVERY DAMN YEAR???? Ugh. Gotta give his agent credit, though. Don’t know if they saw it playing out this way but it sure seems like it is playing out pretty damn well for Fitz! And no complaints because having Fitz here has been great for us, too! I imagine the day will come when he and the team will part ways but I hope there will be more post-season glory for all of us before that time comes.

  30. By John The Draft Guy on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply


    You have got to be kidding. I have said a month or more ago that Khalil Mack is the best player in this draft. I’m not alone as Mayock has said he would take Mack first overall.

    As for Donald, he sure seems like a 4-3 DT and not a 3-4 DE. Could he be a John Randle clone? Possibly. But John Randle was an under tackle. I could see him lining up in a 1 or 3 gap and blowing into the back field.

    As you know, we do not run that type of defense. I would be very very surprised if the cards drafted him.

  31. By jasonc on Mar 4, 2014 | Reply


    I knew you’d hate it, lol. As I’ve always said I’m not an expert so my opinion is always based on what I watch and how I interpret it and Khalil Mack has alot of video where he doesn’t look impressive. If you watch the Baylor game you’ll see a guy who got shutout and dominated at times. I’m afraid of Barr because of the stigma of PAC 12 edge rushers…quick name that last successful PAC 12 or 10 edge defender. Marcus Smith has alot of good video, he can rush the passer, play in space and turn and run in coverage…not to mention he led the nation in sacks so he has production. Maybe he isn’t better than those guys but he’ll have better value. I know you like Mack and that’s cool…I respect your opinion, I just don’t see what the fuss is all about.

  32. By jasonc on Mar 4, 2014 | Reply

    Oh, and Aaron Donald…I’d agree with you and I knew your fist point would be to say he isn’t a 3-4 DE and if we ran a traditional 3-4 like say the Horton 3-4 you’d be right. I just think with us playing a 1 gap he’d be doing the same type of things and he is an explosive disrupter as a 1 gap player. His height is a concern but I think he’s going to be a dominating player in this league and has the ability to do that from any scheme that allows him to be a 1 gap penetrator.

  33. By Birdgang34 on Mar 11, 2014 | Reply

    jasonc —

    Turns out your wrong. Dansby bolts for the money. Cares nothing of the ring.

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