Larry Fitzgerald, Cards agree to deal

ByJosh Weinfuss ESPN logo
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Larry Fitzgerald isn't going anywhere.

The Cardinals star wide receiver agreed to "essentially" a two-year contract Wednesday to stay with the only team he's played for.

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim announced the deal Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, saying "we're finished."

Keim did not disclose financial details. Fitzgerald will receive $22 million in guaranteed money over the course of the new contract, according to ESPN sources and multiple reports.

Fitzgerald was due to earn $16.25 million with a $23.6 million cap hit in 2015, making his contract one of the Cardinals' top offseason priorities.

"I think it was just really important to Larry to remain a Cardinal," Keim said. "I know he feels like it's a special place. He has a tremendous relationship with Michael Bidwill, our president and owner, so that really helped, as well, to have those two sit down and talk things out.

"We knew all along that Larry wanted to stay a Cardinal. We just had to find that balance where both sides were happy."

Keim acknowledged that he and Fitzgerald's agent, Eugene Parker, talked "quite a bit" over the past year.

"Once we decided to really put the foot on the gas pedal the last week or so, we were able to get the deal done pretty quickly," Keim said. "The two biggest goals for us were pretty simple -- No. 1 to compensate Larry for the type of player, the type of talent that he is and the leader that he is; and essentially clearing up enough salary-cap space for us moving forward to be able to be aggressive and proactive when free agency starts."

Bidwill said last week that the team hoped to acquire a high-profile free agent with the salary-cap space freed up by reworking Fitzgerald's deal.

"There's some additional tough decisions that we're going to have to make, but [Fitzgerald's new deal] does give us the room, at least from our projections, that we'll be able to be pretty active in free agency and address some of those needs that we've talked about," Keim said.

Fitzgerald, 31, has spent his entire 11-year career with the Cardinals and is the franchise's all-time leader in every major receiving category.

But Fitzgerald's production has declined drastically over the past three seasons. The eight-time Pro Bowler had just 784 receiving yards -- his lowest total since his rookie year -- and a career-low two touchdowns in 2014.

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