Arizona Cardinals fans took a collective sigh of relief Tuesday afternoon when the word began to spread that longtime wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had restructured his contract to give the team some breathing room under the salary cap. The perception is that he's trying to help the Cardinals improve the team to give them a better chance to compete next season.
The question should be how exactly he could be 'helping' the team.
But how can you cut the best wide receiver in the NFL? You can't! However, if you can't afford to pay anyone else because of how much you are paying him it puts you between a rock and a hard place.
Back in AZ from #SB48 & the 1st order of business this AM was signing a restructured contract to help the @AZCardinals get better for 2014!
— Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald) February 4, 2014
He was going to make a base of $12.75 million next season with a cap hit of $18 million. Now his base is going to be $1 million and he got a signing bonus of $11.75 to bring his cap hit down to $8.6 (ESPN has his contract details broken down even more).
On the face it seems as if he is making it possible for the team to go after better talent in the free agent market, but what if it is so they will find a few more willing suitors on the trade market. Yes, his talent is unquestionable. He is hands down the best wide receiver in the NFL and will go down as one of the best ever. So who would not want him?
Everyone would, but the question is who can afford him. With a cap hit of $18 million next season (and $21.25 million the following year) not too many can. Lots would want to, but the economics of the game would force them to give up too much in order to obtain his services.
However, at $8.6 million the hit is much more manageable. So now the question becomes why trade him.
Fitzgerald became the fastest in NFL history to catch 800 balls last season (30 years, 57 days). That's a whole lot of work in a relatively short amount of time--which translates in to more punishment on his body. As much as folks hate to admit (and see it) time eventually catches up with all the great ones; especially those that are as active as he is.
So if they were going to trade him at all and get the most for a guy like him they would need to do it sooner rather than later.
|From Bleacher Report|
More than likely the move is what it seems. Fitzgerald has always put the team first so it is not surprising that he would do what he can to help the club out. Head Coach Bruce Arians knows the value of having a veteran wide receiver to help groom a young quarterback too.
So maybe nothing is going to happen, and this is all as innocent as it seems. Only time will tell.