How will Cardinals use extra cap space after restructuring Fitzgerald's deal?
FEB 04, 2014 7:23p ET
Larry Fitzgerald is revered as the ultimate team player.
The latest piece of evidence of that fact occurred on Tuesday, when he agreed to restructure his contract.
The Cardinals wide receiver, who was projected to have a salary-cap figure of nearly $18 million in 2014, gives the team roughly $8 million in cap space, according to an NFL.com report. Fitzgerald’s $12.75 million base salary will be converted into a signing bonus which will be prorated over the course of the deal, according to the report.
Fitzgerald, 30, was first to announce the decision on Twitter a week after adhering to the notion in a radio row interview.
The move allows general manager Steve Keim a little breathing room to keep some of their undrafted free agents in house. Notable names on the list include linebacker Karlos Dansby, tackle Eric Winston, running back Rashard Mendenhall and cornerbacks Javier Arenas and Antoine Cason.
“We are going to aggressively approach several of these guys,” Keim said last December. “I have already to some degree. We are going to try and put something in place to try to keep some continuity here, particularly for the guys who are playing well. But in some regard, the fans and media are going to have to understand, sometimes the market dictates what happens. The agents and the players sometimes want to see what’s out there.”
Cornerback Patrick Peterson is also entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal.
Peterson, a three-time Pro Bowl cornerback, is scheduled to make $2.88 million in 2014. That number can certainly change if the Cardinals decide they want to be proactive in locking up their franchise cornerback. If the Cardinals decide to slow play an extension for Peterson, they would have the option to exercise the fifth year on his rookie deal, which would equate to an average salary for veterans at that position since he was selected in the top 10, according to the CBA.
However the Cardinals decide to spend the extra money, they will have their veteran wide receiver for at least another season.