One of the big salary cap stories of the last two seasons has been the contract showdown that would happen between the Arizona Cardinals and future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was set to count for $23.6 million against this year’s salary cap leading to the two sides to come to an agreement on a new deal. According to Pro Football Talk the two sides renegotiated the terms of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, guaranteeing Fitzgerald $22 million in the process and reducing his cap number by about $13 million.
If the $22 million in full guarantees is true it is a pretty staggering number for Fitzgerald. The only other active wide receivers to have gotten a true guarantee of that much money are Calvin Johnson, Mike Wallace, and Vincent Jackson. Fitzgerald’s prior contract also had a guarantee that large, none of whom were Fitzgerald’s age at the time if signing.
Fitzgerald was set to earn $16.25 million this year and $15.25 million in 2016, none of which was guaranteed. So it sounds as if he will take a $9.5 million pay cut in return for $22 million guranteed over the next two seasons. That’s a pretty good take for Fitzgerald, whose career contract negotiations have probably been the closest thing to perfect from the player’s perspective as is possible in the NFL.
While there are no details of the actual restructure the Cardinals had characterized the contract as a two year deal. Fitzgerald had four total years remaining on his contract and my guess would be those are now void years. Assuming they did not add a fifth season the contract could look something like this:
The above chart assumes an $8 million signing bonus and a voidable 2017 that woud leave Arizona with $8.7M dead against the salary cap. As soon as we see the details reported somewhere or find out ourselves we will post the correct numbers and update Fitzgeralds charts accordingly.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.