Fitzgerald deal looks to be real, with two exceptions

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We’ve gotten our first look at the details of the contract signed by Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and the eight-year, $120 million contract apparently isn’t infected with any smoke and/or mirrors.

Per a source with knowledge of the numbers, Fitzgerald will make $20 million in 2011.  Starting with a $15 million option bonus due on the first day of the 2012 league year, his two-year take will be $40.25 million, thanks to a base salary of $5 million and a $250,000 workout bonus.

In 2013, he’ll earn a mere $5.25 million.  The numbers kick up again in 2014, with $13 million more coming to Fitzgerald.  In 2015, he’ll make $16.25 million.  In 2016, the earnings will be $15.25 million.

In each of the last two years, when he’ll be 34 and 35, respectively, Fitzgerald will make $15 million.

That said, there are a couple of caveats (apart from the fact that the Cardinals can walk away from the non-guaranteed salaries in the out years).  First, while the guarantee has been reported as $50 million, the real number is only (only?) $45 million.  Of that amount, $20 million is fully guaranteed (injury, skill, cap), and the other $25 million is guaranteed for injury only.

Also, the deal contains up to $8 million in de-escalators tied to Fitzgerald’s receptions in 2016 and 2017.  If he’s under 80 in either season, some of the money rolls back to the Cardinals in 2017 and 2018, respectively.  The highest amounts go away if he’s under 70.

Fitzgerald has had fewer than 70 receptions twice in his seven seasons.  In his rookie year, he caught 58 passes.  In 2006, injuries limited him to 13 games, and he caught 69 passes.

All in all, the deal is a great one.  And with receivers struggling over the past three years to match Fitzgerald’s previous $10 million average on a long-term deal, the ceiling has now been pushed all the way to $15 million.

33 responses to “Fitzgerald deal looks to be real, with two exceptions

  1. Actually that’s not bad, unlike Haynesworth Fitzgerald is a high character workaholic who will deliver every year unless he’s injured.

  2. Thanks for making every WR in the league that much more difficult to re-sign! On the plus side, Desean Jackson’s contract should be huge now.

  3. Great job, Larry. You worked for it. You deserve it. Screw the haters. Hope Kolb can get you many TD’s. Though, it doesn’t matter now. You got paid!

  4. Wow, looks even worse for the Cards than I thought. Does anybody out there have *any* form of quantitative analysis to suggest that Fitzgerald is worth anything close to this?

  5. berniemadoffsides says:
    Aug 22, 2011 6:51 AM
    Thanks for making every WR in the league that much more difficult to re-sign! On the plus side, Desean Jackson’s contract should be huge now.

    What in the world makes you think that Jacksons contract will be anywhere in the same ball bark. Jackson is your typical athlete that has a good year and wants more money simply because he can’t keep it up year after year.

  6. @minkytails

    That’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read in my life. Thanks for brightening up my Monday morning with a little humor!

  7. This is what scientists should make, but maybe Larry will become a “job creator” will all his extra cash…athletes make to much money for just playing with balls…

  8. So basically 14.5 mil/year for the first 4 years and if he’s bad after 3 years they can cut him with no dead money. I only say 3 years because he only makes 5.25 mil year 3, so you wouldn’t cut him until year 4. Still a ton of money.

  9. minkytails

    fourth on the depth chart? there is no way that greg jennings, donald driver, jordy nelson, and james jones would rank over him hes the #1 wide receiver on every team probably but the texans and maybe the lions

  10. Sorry, vikes. I guess Fitzy Sr. was just playing you to get a few more bucks out of the cards. You didn’t really think he was coming home did you?

    The cards should have waited until after this last vikes game. After Jr. had a chance to see how terrible Ponder was, he would have probably signed for a few million less.

  11. Wonder how much Andre Johnson is making this year (considering him and Fitz are the two best receivers in the league).

  12. bennyd720 says:
    Aug 22, 2011 8:42 AM
    This is what scientists should make, but maybe Larry will become a “job creator” will all his extra cash…athletes make to much money for just playing with balls…
    _____________

    I’m a scientist, so there goes your “scientists should get $120 million” theory. I would settle for $100 for each PFT comment.

  13. @minkytails –

    That wasn’t clever, just stupid. This is how a real deranged Packer fan should comment:

    Carl Gersbchmidt says:
    Aug 22, 2011 9:32 AM
    Sorry, vikes. I guess Fitzy Sr. was just playing you to get a few more bucks out of the cards. You didn’t really think he was coming home did you?

    The cards should have waited until after this last vikes game. After Jr. had a chance to see how terrible Ponder was, he would have probably signed for a few million less.
    ________________

    The statement is still preposterous, but it’s presented in a way that it’s just believable enough that the uninitiated might fall for it. You and I know that Ponder looks pretty good for a rookie in his first two exhibition games (and better than A-Rodg was as a rookie), but not everyone is breaking down film on Christian Ponder at this point in the preseason. Carl gets it. Learn from the master.

  14. mintytails or whatever your name is:

    If Fitz got to play a full season with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, 130/1800/20 wouldn’t be out of the question. He’s considerably better than anyone the Packers can put at wideout. Greg Jennings can beat him in a race, but is not a better receiver.

  15. “same old cheap Cardinals, eh?”

    kolb, Wilson, Dockett, Fitz all given monster deals…..

    Stadium sold out since 2006…

    Wake up, haters. Cards are a different team now. The son has this organization going in the right direction.

  16. I agree with alot of people here…

    If there’s one player in the NFL that actually deserves a massive paycheck, it’s larry fitzgerald. Also, I watched Kolb and the new cardinals….

    Not bad, give them another 2 years of positive movement on the roster and management, they will have a maintainable championship team.

  17. Last I checked…Greg Jennings is a Super Bowl Champ. Larry Fitz is not…nor is he or any non QB worth that money….now that I think of it…no player is worth that money. The NFL fan should not be happy about his money…..just makes all the non QB’s money in the stratisphere that only a few teams can afford. Not a good sign of things to come. Your going to have running backs that share the load on the team demanding $50 million guranteed.

    They hardly work out anymore, they are not loyal to any team.

    Kind of sucks compared to what the NFL was years ago.

    Chris Johnson and DeSean Jackson are both loving this for what they are both gonna demand now.

  18. @edsbay

    I completely agree, there is nobody outside of the QB position worth this kind of money, and only a handful of QB’s that have ever played the game would be worth that in today’s financial game. For the teams known to throw money around this deal will be good for them as far as start power is concerned [Good luck with Lombardi with that philosophy though]

  19. I might be a bafoon, but you gotta admit, the Packers special teams unit would be much improved with Fitz sprinting down the field (as that would probably be his only chance to get on the field if he ever donned the green and gold).

  20. People will you stop with the DeSean Jackson business? He’s not a top 10 WR. Until he learns how to run routes properly and proves he has the balls to run across the middle, he is nothing more than this generation’s Alvin Harper.

    AND THEY DON’T GET BIG TIME DEALS.

  21. minkytails says:
    Aug 22, 2011 12:27 PM
    I might be a bafoon, but you gotta admit, the Packers special teams unit would be much improved with Fitz sprinting down the field (as that would probably be his only chance to get on the field if he ever donned the green and gold).

    ______

    I don’t see how he beats out Cobb….

  22. Good job Larry now all u need is kolb to throw u some touchdowns. I hope Arizona goes all the way this year good luck

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