Larry Fitzgerald

Contract Details: Fitzgerald, Cardinals, Jags

Here are the contract details on some of the NFL’s latest deals:

  • Larry Fitzgerald‘s new deal with the Cardinals includes a base salary of $11M plus incentives, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The pact does not include a signing bonus, but he did manage to match his $11MM salary from 2018. That’s not a bad deal for the veteran wide receiver given his drop in production last season.
  • The Jaguars‘ three-year deal with safety Jarrod Wilson is worth $9MM, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). The contract calls for a $1MM signing bonus, $1.5MM guaranteed, and up to $1.75MM in playtime incentives over the last two years of the deal. Prior to the new deal, he was slated to be a restricted free agent this offseason.
  • Seantrel Henderson‘s new one-year deal with the Texans can be worth up to $4.5MM, but much of that sum is tied to performance incentives, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. He’s set to earn a base salary of $1.5MM with $1MM guaranteed, plus a $500K roster bonus in April and a $500K bonus if he’s on the 46-man roster for at least 12 games. He’ll also see a $2MM roster bonus paid out at a rate of $125K for every game he’s on the 46-man roster.

Cardinals Re-Sign Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald will return for his 16th season. On Wednesday, the Cardinals announced that Fitzgerald is back in the fold with a brand new one-year deal. 

No player has meant more to this franchise or this community than Larry Fitzgerald,” said Cardinals President Michael Bidwill. “In my discussions with him, it was clear that he is as driven and passionate as ever. We are thrilled he’ll be back for 2019.”

Fitzgerald was once again on the fence about retirement, but it appears that the team’s hiring of Kliff Kingsbury helped convince him to continue playing.

Hell of a coach. … Look at his resume,” Fitzgerald said this week. “He’s innovative offensively. That’s the wave of the future right now, so I’m excited for the chance to meet him.”

Fitzgerald, 36 in August, was held to just 69 catches for 734 yards and six touchdowns last year as the Cardinals’ offense sagged. If the Cardinals are able to get back on track and balance things with David Johnson, Fitzgerald will likely be able to get back to his old form. In 2017, his age-34 season, Fitzgerald managed 1,156 yards off of 109 catches with six TDs.

Fitzgerald, in theory, could have tested the open market, but he has repeatedly stated that he’s only willing to play in Arizona.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Fitz, Raiders, Broncos, Brown

After the Cardinals trudged through their worst season in 18 years, Larry Fitzgerald‘s latest retire-or-not decision now features another new coach and offensive system in the equation — this one with no NFL coaching experience. But the future Hall of Fame receiver has not distanced himself from the process that brought Kliff Kingsbury to Arizona. Fitz has exchanged text messages with his new coach, the 35-year-old wideout told TMZ recently (via the Arizona Republic).

Hell of a coach. … Look at his resume,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s innovative offensively. That’s the wave of the future right now, so I’m excited for the chance to meet him.”

Fitzgerald played out his contract and is a free agent. While it would seemingly be tempting for the 15-year veteran to see if he could land with a team better positioned to compete for a championship, the career-long Cardinal has said multiple times he will only play for the Cards. Fitz continues to deliberate about the possibility of retiring or coming back for a 16th season.

Here is more from the West-division teams that have been working on their offseason strategies.

  • Former Broncos offensive lineman Chris Kuper will return to Denver as the team’s assistant offensive line coach. Kuper spent the previous three seasons coaching under Adam Gase in Miami. He retired following the 2013 season with the Broncos, who deployed him as a starter for most of his career. Kuper will work under Mike Munchak.
  • The 49ers are the Las Vegas frontrunners to land Antonio Brown, and The Athletic (subscription required) agrees with that assessment. San Francisco should be viewed as the clubhouse leaders to acquire the disgruntled Steelers wideout, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows. Kyle Shanahan balked at paying high prices for this past year’s UFA crop, and Barrows writes the 49ers will not be giving up their No. 2 overall pick for a soon-to-be 31-year-old wideout. However, he cautions a team picking in the late first round may be able to outflank a San Francisco trade offer, regardless of the 49ers’ need at this position.
  • Brentson Buckner‘s position with the Raiders will be defensive line coach, Jon Gruden said Tuesday (via ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez). Buckner, who coached the Buccaneers’ defensive linemen last season, will replace Mike Trgovac. The latter, however, will be promoted in some capacity, per Gruden. As for the Raiders’ quarterbacks coach position — vacated by Brian Callahan‘s move to become the Bengals’ OC Tuesday — the team might wait until the Combine to fill that position.
  • Gruden believes Daryl Worley underwent shoulder surgery recently after ending his season with a torn labrum, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets. Worley, a starter this season prior to landing on IR, is expected to receive an RFA tender from the Raiders.

West Notes: Fitz, Wilson, Henry

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald did not announce that he would return for the 2018 season until mid-February of 2018, and it appears that we could have a similar wait in 2019. Fitz told ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier this week that he would take some time to collect his thoughts after a difficult 3-13 season, but that the team’s recent hiring of new head coach Kliff Kingsbury would not sway him one way or another. If Fitz does decide to play, he would technically be eligible for free agency, but it is impossible to imagine him playing for a team other than Arizona.

Now for more from the league’s west divisions:

  • This probably doesn’t mean much, especially in light of last week’s reports on the matter, but Kingsbury has said that he would consider drafting Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray with the Cardinals‘ No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, per ESPN’s Sam Ponder (via Twitter).
  • The Seahawks are set to begin contract negotiations with quarterback Russell Wilson, and in a piece that is well-worth a full read, Joel Corry of CBS Sports says that Wilson’s new deal will pay him at least $35MM per year.
  • After being activated on Monday, Chargers TE Hunter Henry is expected to play in the team’s divisional round showdown in Foxborough this afternoon, per Albert Breer of SI.com.
  • We heard yesterday that Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell will be a top target of new Broncos coach Vic Fangio, and Mike Klis of 9News tweets that Donatell is currently deciding between staying in Chicago or following Fangio to Denver.
  • Former Buccaneers defensive line coach Brentson Buckner will join the Raiders in the same capacity, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • 49ers defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina will not be returning to the team, per Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (via Twitter).

Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald Haven’t Discussed Extension

Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald is scheduled to become a free agent next spring, but Arizona has yet to discuss an extension with the franchise icon, as general manager Steve Keim explained on 98.7 Arizona’s Sports Station on Friday (link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com).

“We don’t get into that with Larry at this point and time,” Keim said. “It’s no different than the last couple of years. We will give him that grace period to sort of reflect and see how his body feels like a lot of the vets do. Those are the conversations that will come after the season.”

Fitzgerald, of course, has flirted with retirement in recent years, and that dalliance will likely take place again this offseason. It seems incredibly unlikely that Fitzgerald — who would be entering his age-36 campaign in 2019 — would have interest in leaving the Cardinals, as he’s expressed on multiple occasions that he’s only willing to play in Arizona.

Although Fitzgerald may be open to extending his career beyond 2018, it’s unknown if he’s angling for a multi-year contract. Last November, Fitzgerald agreed to a one-year, $11MM extension that took him through the 2018 campaign. However, with the Cardinals possibly in line for major structural changes — both Keim and head coach Steve Wilks could lose their jobs in the coming weeks — it stands to reason Fitzgerald could take his time deciding on his future.

While Fitzgerald’s numbers (59 receptions, 645 yards, five touchdowns) have fallen off this season, it’s tough to lay blame at his feet, as the Cardinals easily boast the league’s worst offensive unit and quarterback play. In terms of all-time NFL records, Fitzgerald isn’t going to pass Jerry Rice in terms of receiving yardage, but he should overtake Tony Gonzalez for second in receptions if he plays in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints, Eagles Could Be Aggressive At Trade Deadline

The Saints and Eagles are expected to be among the most aggressive teams in advance of the October 30 trade deadline, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who adds that the two clubs are interested in a few of the same players.

Interestingly, La Canfora writes that Philadelphia is still monitoring the trade markets for Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy, though recent reports surrounding both running backs suggest that they will be staying with their current teams. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer says it would not cost much to get McCoy, despite what the Bills have been saying, but it does not seem likely that the Eagles will reunite with their former star. Instead, in keeping with previous reports, it sounds as if the Eagles are content with their running back situation, and Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that the team sees a defensive tackle, secondary help, and a field-stretching wide receiver as bigger priorities.

La Canfora also writes that the Eagles are seeking another receiving option and a quality corner, and he says the Saints are looking for upgrades at the same positions. The Raiders are said to be shopping Amari Cooper, who is probably the best wide receiver who could be had at the deadline, but Larry Fitzgerald and Emmanuel Sanders may also be in play. Meanwhile, Eli Apple, Gareon Conley, and Bradley Roby are some of the corners who have been attracting the interest of rival clubs.

The Saints are currently 4-1 and are atop the NFC South, and they are clearly in win-now mode as they hope to bring home another Lombardi Trophy before Drew Brees, 39, hangs up the cleats. The defending champion Eagles are just 3-3 but are very much alive in the wide open NFC East.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Cardinals, Cooks, Gregory, Manhertz, McCluster

Larry Fitzgerald will be back for a 15th season in Arizona, and the long-time Cardinals wideout is set to hit free agency next offseason. Of course, the future Hall of Famer can’t envision himself playing elsewhere, as he essentially told Jace Frederick of TwinCities.com that he’d hang up his cleats if he wasn’t retained by Arizona.

“If I’m not playing in Arizona, I won’t be playing anywhere,” he said. “I’ve built a good life for myself down there. Playing in the same place for 15 years is a true blessing.”

Fitzgerald is one of only two players (along with Antonio Brown) to compile 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards over the past three seasons. Despite turning 35 years old this fall, Fitzgerald says he isn’t slowing down.

“It doesn’t really matter about the age, it’s about what you put into it and your mind-set,” he said. “Everybody kind of takes numbers and assumes this is when it’s supposed to end. As an athlete, fortunately, you write your own script. If you still produce and you play at a high level, you kind of determine how long you want to play. If I can stay at a high level, I still keep destiny in my own hands.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • We learned earlier today that wideout Brandin Cooks had inked a five-year, $80MM extension with the Rams. NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora tweets that the new deal contains $20.5MM in guaranteed money and a $50.5MM injury guarantee. NFL.com’s Albert Breer clarifies (via Twitter) that the deal will actually total $81MM, with the $16.2MM average annual value trailing only Brown, Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins.
  • Cardinals general manager Steve Keim pleaded guilty today to extreme DUI, and the Cardinals subsequently fined and suspended the executive. Kent Somers of AZCentral tweets that there won’t be an interim general manager during Keim’s absence, as the team will ultimately divide his responsibilities. Terry McDonough will likely handle the “evaluation side,” while Mike Disner will focus on contracts and the cap. Somer adds that Keim won’t face further discipline from the NFL.
  • Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets that Keim’s suspension “doesn’t preclude” the Cardinals from working out a long-term deal with running back David Johnson, echoing that Disner would likely negotiate the contract. The Pro Bowler skipped mandatory minicamp last month as he looks for a raise on his $1.8MM base salary.
  • Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, reports Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. The 26-year-old underwent offseason surgery after suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot. The team is hopeful that Greg Olsen‘s primary backup will be ready for the start of the regular season. As Person points out, Manhertz’s absence will provide fourth-rounder Ian Thomas with an opportunity to contribute during training camp.
  • Earlier today, the NFL reinstated Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory on a conditional basis. Naturally, after appearing in only two games over the past two seasons, the 25-year-old is excited about the prospect of returning to the NFL. “I’m very excited,” Gregory said (via the Dallas News’ Jon Machota on Twitter). “Thanks to the ones who supported me and stood by me. It’s a lot more to the story than it seems and it took me a lot to get to this point. Now I’m ready to make some plays.”
  • Former NFL running back Dexter McCluster has caught on with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL (via CFL.ca). The 29-year-old played in six games with the Chargers during the 2016 season. During his four years with the Chiefs, McCluster compiled 662 rush yards, 1,500 receiving yards, and more than 2,000 return yards.

Larry Fitzgerald Eyeing Post-’18 NFL Future?

Larry Fitzgerald has deliberated about retirement the past two offseasons, and he’s returning to head up the post-Carson Palmer Cardinals offense. But might the future Hall of Famer now be considering playing beyond 2018?

Whispers around the organization point Fitzgerald to a possible future with the team that goes beyond his age-35 season, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports. Setting a rough timeline for his hopes, Steve Wilks included the possibility of 2019 and perhaps 2020 in his hopes for the all-time Arizona great.

I think really that’s a question for him, but I would love to have him back,” Wilks said Wednesday, via Somers. “As I’ve said earlier, next year and maybe even a year after that.”

Fitzgerald’s put together three strong seasons in his early 30s and has made the Pro Bowl in 10 of the past 11 years. His future with the Cards could depend on how quickly Josh Rosen can acclimate, and Arizona does have a new supporting cast of wideouts — headlined by second-rounder Christian Kirk — it’s installing this offseason. Poor quarterback play in between Kurt Warner and Palmer limited Fitzgerald in the early 2010s, so Rosen figures to be an important component to Fitz’s future. As will his fit in Arizona’s new offense after he flourished in Bruce Arians‘.

Fitz, naturally, did not make any big proclamations about a longer-term future.

I’m just trying to get through February in one piece,” Fitzgerald said, via Somers. “I don’t buy green bananas. I don’t have time to watch ’em ripe. I’ve got to get it now.”

If Fitzgerald stays healthy this season, he will almost certainly surpass Terrell Owens for No. 2 in all-time receiving yards. He has 15,545 in 14 seasons; that’s 389 shy of Owens’ mark. Fitzgerald is 315 receptions away from Jerry Rice‘s standard of 1,549. That’s his best chance to catch one of the legend’s marks, and it would take at least three more seasons to get there. He’s 18 touchdown receptions away from moving into the top five, thus supplanting Marvin Harrison (128).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald To Play In 2018

Larry Fitzgerald isn’t going anywhere. In a radio interview, Cardinals coach Steve Wilks told 98.7 FM in Arizona that the wide receiver will return for the 2018 season. Larry Fitzgerald (vertical)

It’s a very exciting time for all of us. To all the Arizona Cardinals fans around the world, it’s very exciting because Larry mentioned to me last night that he is coming back for the 2018 season,” Wilks said. “I’m extremely excited…You’re talking about a future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. I couldn’t be more excited to have Larry coming back next year. He is totally committed — those are his words — so we’re ecstatic to have him be part of the Arizona Cardinals.”

The 11-time Pro Bowler is now set to take the field for his 15th NFL season. Even at his advanced age, Fitzgerald is still among the best at his position. After moving to the slot in 2015, the veteran has topped 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each season and has cemented his status as one of the game’s all-time greats. This past season, despite being the league’s oldest wideout, Fitzgerald caught a career-high 109 passes and tallied 1,156 receiving yards with six touchdowns.

Thanks to the one-year extension signed in November, the Cardinals have Fitzgerald under contract for $11MM in 2018. The deal includes a no-trade clause and incentives that can give him an extra $1MM if he reaches No. 2 on the league’s all-time receiving list. Fitzgerald can hit that marker with 92 catches to top tight end Tony Gonzalez’s 1,325 career catches. That’s very doable since Fitzgerald has averaged 108 grabs over the past three years. He also only needs 390 receiving yards to pass Terrell Owens’ 15,934 for No. 2 all-time.

This week, the Cardinals promoted assistant receivers coach Kevin Garver to WR coach, a move that reportedly pleased Fitzgerald and may have nudged him towards playing. Quarterback Carson Palmer and coach Bruce Arians are gone, but Garver will be among the familiar faces for Fitz in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Cowboys, Cards, Falcons

The Cowboys are expected to name Doug Nussmeier as tight ends coach, sources tell ESPN.com’s Todd Archer (on Twitter). Nussmeier has a lengthy resume, including stints as the offensive coordinator for Florida, Michigan, and Alabama. The former NFL backup quarterback also served as the Rams’ quarterbacks coach under Scott Linehan, the Cowboys’ current OC.

More from the coaching ranks:

  • The Cardinals announced that they have promoted assistant receivers coach Kevin Garver to WR coach and inside linebackers coach Larry Foote to LB coach. The retention of Garver should be a plus for Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM tweets. The veteran is deliberating whether to play in 2018 or retire and the presence of Garver could push him towards continuing his career.
  • The Falcons announced three additions to their coaching staff: running backs coach Bernie Parmalee, offensive assistant Chad Walker, and assistant special teams coach Mayur Chaudhari. Parmalee served as the Raiders’ running backs coach from 2015-17. While the running game wasn’t always great in Oakland during that time, the Raiders did average 120.1 yards on the ground in 2016, the sixth-most in the league. Parmalee is best known for his days as an NFL running back for the Dolphins and Jets.
  • The Panthers hired former University of Michigan offensive graduate assistant coach Drew Terrell as an offensive quality control coach, per a team announcement. Terrell first made a name for himself as a wide receiver/punt returner at Stanford where he earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 as a returner three times.