We have done the quarterbacks and running backs in our positional review and preview. Next up are the wide receivers.
Jaron Brown: signed through 2015
John Brown: signed through 2017
Larry Fitzgerald: signed through 2018
Michael Floyd: signed through 2015
Ted Ginn: Signed through 2016
Brittan Golden: Signed through 2016
Travis Harvey: Future contract for 2015
Ryan Spadola: Future contract for 2015
The money and the decisions:
Arizona has a lot of money tied up in its receivers. You have likely heard about the $23.6 million cap hit Larry Fitzgerald represents. Michael Floyd's deal counts over $3.1 million (and is fully guaranteed). Ted Ginn's albatross of a contract counts $4 million. The other guys are on rookie deals.
There is an issue -- Arizona has two very big decisions with their receivers.
One is how to deal with Larry Fitzgerald's contract. Both sides have begun talks and rumors bounce back between he won't be back to he will be back. Both team and player want to be here, but the question is how much money will Fitz require and will he be content with what his current role in the offense is.
The other question is whether to exercise Michael Floyd's fifth-year contract option. Doing so would pay Floyd the average salary of the top 25 paid receivers, excluding the top two. By my calculations, that would mean a 2016 salary of $4.57 million. Beyond that, do they try to sign him long term?
As receiver production goes, it has a lot to do with the quarterback play. With only six games of Carson Palmer, the numbers weren't good. Coming into the season, there was talk of perhaps the Cardinals having three 100-yard receivers. There would be at least two easily with Fitz and Floyd. Rookie John Brown was supposed to be electric and have a T.Y. Hilton rookie season.
The actual results were bad. Fitz led the team with catches with only 63. Floyd led in yardage with 841. So nobody even got to 70 catches or to 900 yards, let alone 1000.
In all fairness to Fitz, through nine games he was on pace to catch almost 80 balls for over 1100 yards. But Carson Palmer got hurt and then Fitz got hurt, which hurt his production.
Perhaps more disappointing was Floyd's season. After breaking out in 2013 with over 1000 yards, He only caught 47 passes for 841 yards. He did score six touchdowns. But he was so inconsistent. He had three games of over 100 yards. He also had four with less than 20 yards, including two without a single catch.
Rookie John Brown was fantastic early on and ended the season with 48 catches for almost 700 yards and five scores. He caught multiple game-winning scores. His production down the stretch tailed off, partly because of the QB situation and likely also because of being a rookie and playing a longer season. He also struggled with drops.
Ginn had little impact on the passing game, catching only 14 passes. Jaron Brown stepped in for an injured Fitz and caught 22 passes, but also had his share of drops, as did Ginn.
Looking ahead to 2015:
I don't think there is any scenario in which Ginn returns. Outside of his punt return touchdown in New York, he did not impact really any other game positively. Plus, the team can save $2.5 million in cap space by cutting him.
Fitz is a tossup to me. One day I think he'll leave, the next I think he'll be back. One thing is sure. It won't be with the terms of his current contract.
I believe the Cardinals will exercise Floyd's option. I think they will wait, though, to extend him until maybe next season.
Brown, Brown and Golden will be in the mix.
If Fitz returns, I don't foresee a significant addition in free agency. There is quite the list, though. Dez Bryant, Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Maclin and Damaryius Thomas are set to hit the market.
If there is something we can expect, it is Bruce Arians drafting a speedy receiver in the middle to late rounds of the draft. It will happen. I'll let Seth Cox profile the guys that fit the Arians mold. He was right on with John Brown last year.