The new year got off with a bit of a bang for the Arizona Cardinals when reports started swirling around about how receiver Larry Fitzgerald would not be willing to take a pay cut when the team comes to him to renegotiate his current contract.
Where the information comes from is a Kent Somers article for AZ Central discussing the important offseason decisions that general manager Steve Keim and the rest of the organization have.
The Cardinals haven't approached Fitzgerald's agent, Eugene Parker, about restructuring the contract, but they will. Negotiations will be interesting because Fitzgerald isn't going to take a pay cut.
He will be open to a restructuring that might include converting salary into a bonus that can be prorated over the next few years.
Keep in mind, this is not a quote for Fitzgerald himself. At the most, it is what Somers heard from Fitz' agent, and what an agent says on the record is all part of negotiations.
But just to be clear, this should not come as a surprise. It is not the first time that a local media member has said that we should not expect a pay cut for the team's superstar.
is numbers have been down the past couple of years, but even with the dropoff in production, he has still been named to the Pro Bowl by his peers. The league still views him in that high regard.
Obviously, the $18 million cap number has to be reduced for this next season, so I think it makes sense that the team will give him some more of the money now as a bonus to spread money out. However, this will simply push back the bigger cap hits later and later, creating dead money down the line at some point. Of course, many expect a pretty big bump in the salary can after a new TV deal is struck soon. That may just be the relief they need.
But to those expecting him to add a year to his contract at the same salary number, you will be disappointed. Either they will shift money around be giving him a bunch up front now and creating dead money all the way through his deal if he were to be traded or cut (his current deal would leave $10 million in dead money this year or $5 million in 2015.
The final three years it would make it possible to cut or trade him without any hit to the cap. Reworking the deal would change that.
So while there had been talk on local radio shows that he should take a cut in pay, it seem unreasonable that would happen. He isn't just going to give money up. He and his agent know that he is still worth more to the team on it than not on it, even with the big cap hit.
Of course, being that this information likely comes from his agent, you never really know whether to believe any of it. Maybe he will take a bit of a pay cut. I doubt it, but it is too early to worry about contract negotiations that have yet to even begin.