It’s a done deal. On Friday morning, the Cardinals announced a new one-year extension for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The veteran is now signed through the 2018 season.
The deal is worth $11MM and includes a no-trade clause, according to Mike Jurecki of 98.7FM. The pact also includes incentives that can give him an extra $1MM if he reaches No. 2 on the NFL’s all-time receiving list.
Fitzgerald was considering retirement and many believed that the 2017 campaign would be his last. It’s still possible that he walks away at the end of the season, but there is at least a deal in place if the wide receiver decides to run it back one more time.
There’s a case to be made for both retirement and continuing. On one hand, Fitzgerald could leave on a high note – he currently leads the NFC with 60 receptions and is on pace for 107 catches and 1,204 receiving yards. No player in league history has ever had more than 100 catches and 1,000 yards in a season started at the age of 34 or higher. The odds of an encore, historically, are not on his side. Then again, it’s clear that he still has something left in the tank.
If Fitzgerald plays out this new deal, next year will be his 16th season on the field. Only quarterback Jim Hart (18) and kicker Jim Bakken (17) have played in more seasons for the Cardinals franchise (Twitter link via Mark Dalton of the Cardinals). If he plays every game through 2018, he’ll match Bakken for most regular season games played in Cardinals history with 234.
There are also lots of NFL records within range for Fitzgerald. With another 141 catches, he’ll leapfrog tight end Tony Gonzalez for second all-time in NFL history behind Jerry Rice. The 10-time Pro Bowler (likely en route to No. 11) can become third in all-time receiving yards this season with another 227 yards, allowing him to bypass Randy Moss. After that, he’s just another 642 yards away from topping Terrell Owens for second place.
The Cardinals also have quarterback Carson Palmer and coach Bruce Arians under contract through next season, meaning that the familiar trio could return for 2018.