NFL executives around the league are scared that Larry Fitzgerald‘s deal with the Cardinals will inflate the free agent market for wide receivers, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). The new contract surprised three different execs, who didn’t see him getting $11MM per season for two years.
Executives expected the wide receiver market to be more in the $7-$8MM range and believed that Fitzgerald would fall near the top of that range. His new deal, as many have posited, probably comes in at around $6MM over market value. Still, Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill did not want to lose his franchise player and he believes that Fitzgerald sets a phenomenal example for teammates on and off-the-field. While the quantifiable stats make the deal an overpay in the eyes of most, Bidwill believes that No. 11’s value goes beyond his on-field production. In 2014, Fitzgerald hauled in 63 catches for 784 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net hears that the belief around the league is that the available corners will be overpaid in free agency as the demand will far outweigh the supply. The need is great for many teams like the Saints and Bears, who could look to sign not one but two cornerbacks on the open market. The Patriots won the Super Bowl with the help of two free agent corners in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and it’s not hard to see other teams eagerly trying to replicate that success.