Tag:Larry Fitzgerald
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:59 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2011 6:07 am
 

Report: Fitzgerald's contract forbids tagging

FitzgeraldPosted by Josh Katzowitz

An interesting tidbit in the contract of Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald was discovered by the sources of ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Basically, as Schefter reports, the Cardinals will not have the opportunity to place the franchise tag on Fitzgerald once his contract expires after this season.

Obviously, this is a very Fitzgerald-friendly clause, because assuming it could slap the tag on Fitzgerald, Arizona could keep him another season without having to sign him to a long-term deal (the caveat there is that the Cardinals would have to pay him the average of the top-five WRs in the league). That still would give the team plenty of leverage.

Most players hate this maneuver because it restricts their flexibility -- where they can play and how much they can play for. But somehow, Fitzgerald got it written into his four-year, $40 million contract that he signed in 2008 that the franchise tag is moot in his case.

The Cardinals and Fitzgerald are apparently working on a long-term deal, and with the addition of a few key free agents -- which, conveniently, you can check out in our Free Agent Tracker! -- it seems that Fitzgerald actually is interested in staying in Arizona long term.

Apparently, giving Fitzgerald some help at the TE spot (Todd Heap) and the QB spot (Kevin Kolb instead of, ugh, Derek Anderson) made him more willing to tie himself to Arizona for the future.

“Life is good. WWe have a QB, TE and I couldn’t be happier with the way this team is coming together” Fitzgerald told Xtra 910 AM earlier this month.

And luckily for Fitzgerald, it sounds like the Cardinals want to give him a ton of money.

"We want Larry to end his career as an Arizona Cardinal," GM Rod Graves told The Associated Press earlier this month, "and we are prepared to make him the highest-paid player in team history and one of the highest-paid players in the NFL."

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Posted on: July 31, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Heap to Arizona will help Kolb, Fitzgerald

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

HeapThe Cardinals haven’t been a big “throw it to the TE” squad lately, but after the team announced it had signed Ravens castoff Todd Heap to the mix, that most likely will change.

Heap, cut by Baltimore last week, inked a two-year deal, and though he’s the sixth TE in camp for Arizona, he immediately moves to the top of the depth chart.

Apparently, Heap -- who caught 40 passes for 599 yards and five touchdowns last season -- was visiting the Jets when he decided to take the offer from his hometown team. According to Ravens Insider Aaron Wilson, the contract is worth between $5 million and $6 million, and he immediately becomes a big-name target for new QB Kevin Kolb while helping alleviate some pressure off No. 1 WR Larry Fitzgerald.

It's a homecoming of sorts for Heap, who played in college at Arizona State and is from the Phoenix area.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 8:49 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 8:35 am
 

Assessing the NFL free agency and trade QB market

Posted by Will Brinson



We knew Tuesday's free-agency action wasn't going to be "calm." But man-oh-man did things heat up late, what with the Panthers dropping the equivalent of Charlotte's gross annual income on defensive end Charles Johnson, and the Redskins and Ravens making moves for their own free agents.

If anything, it showed that teams who have favorable relationships with their current players did get a bit of an advantage during this hectic offseason. But what about teams who need to find help -- specifically, quarterback help -- from the outside? Well, there's a market, but it's percolating more often than my coffee pot Tuesday.

So let's break down the values of the three biggest names out there, shall we?

Kevin Kolb
Kolb's the hottest target on the market, but is he the quarterback most guaranteed to succeed with a new team next year? Not necessarily, but it doesn't matter.

His value's done nothing but skyrocket since the lockout began, and it sure does seem like all the reports that he's locked into the Cardinals will come into fruition.

The Cardinals are reportedly keeping their options open -- Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reported on Tuesday that Arizona was talking with Denver about Kyle Orton as well as discussing the possibility of adding Marc Bulger and Matt Hasselbeck -- but the reality is they're not just trying to secure a quarterback for 2011.

They're also trying to secure a quarterback for the future and make sure they don't risk losing superstar wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to the open market should he become disgruntled.

Lest you think that matters to the Cardinals, who were in the Super Bowl just a few years ago, wait until push comes to shove and the marketplace starts to bear itself out.

For now, Arizona's front office can pretend to play chicken with the Eagles in a deal for Kolb. Once things become a little clearer and quarterbacks begin aligning with various teams (see: Seattle jumping on the bandwagon that is Tarvaris Jackson) there won't be nearly enough leverage hanging out there for the Cardinals to lean on.

Potential Suitors
: Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins
Best Bet
: It's the Cards by a longshot now that the Seahawks are ruled out. Miami could come sprinting around the turn at the last minute, but at this point it would be a borderline surprise if Kolb wasn't traded to Arizona.

Kyle Orton
Orton's the de facto red herring for the Cards (see: above) apparently, but if you poll most folks, they'll probably at least agree he can be as productive in the right system as Kolb.

In fact, Orton's piled up more than 3,500 yards and 20 touchdowns each of the last two years. And get THIS: each of those years equated to a large total of both yardage and touchdowns than Kolb has in his entire career.

Yes I'm aware that Kolb's only started seven games in his four years in the league and, yes, I'm aware that he's had a rough go of things given that no one really saw Michael Vick usurping his would-be throne in Philly.

But none of that bad luck guarantees that he'll succeed any more than someone like Orton who has two clear-cut years of production in the right system.

My counting-stats rant aside, Kolb's still the top guy available, but there's definitely a market for Orton. And one spot that really makes sense is Miami, where the Dolphins have struggled since Dan Marino retired to find a suitable replacement under center.

Those struggles have manifested themselves in the continual wasting of second-round picks and -- lo and behold! -- that's exactly what everyone thinks Denver wants in return for Orton.

Rather than gambling on another rookie down the road, it seems reasonable that Miami could invest another second-rounder in Orton. Unless Stephen Ross is as obsessed with Vince Young as Bud Adams anyway.

Potential Suitors: Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals
Best Bet
: The Fins. Orton's a better bet than either Vince Young or Matt Moore and, again, it's "just" a second-rounder.


Donovan McNabb
:
Which brings us to this guy. Poor Donovan hasn't had the easiest year in the world -- he's been mortified by Mike Shanhan and the Redskins coaching staff on national television (seriously: wouldn't you rather get pansted in DuPont Circle than get yanked mid-game for Rex Grossman?) and basically been castoff into free-agent oblivion.

There's even been talk of retirement. But the talk today has circled primarily around the Vikings. Which -- of course -- is where McNabb was supposed to go all along.

There was no deal finalized on Tuesday and/or even agreed to, but it's looking like Minnesota will bring in McNabb to try and provide a stabilizing veteran presence on the roster.

Christian Ponder's obviously the future, and I agree with my life coach Pete Prisco that he's the best-suited rookie quarterback to succeed from Day 1.

But that doesn't mean rookie coach Leslie Frazier shouldn't have a backup option in place should he find out that Ponder's not ready quite yet.

Plus, the two teams play on Christmas Eve, man. And that's something that just has to happen in terms of potential revenge games that may or may not feature McNabb running over Ponder's foot the week of the game just to get the start.

For all of that to even happen, though, McNabb's going to need to agree to work out a significant change in his contract. But if it gets him out of purgatory Washington, it's worth the lost money.

Potential Suitors: Minnesota Vikings
Best Bet: Vikings. It just doesn't seem likely that the Titans or Dolphins will step up and trade for McNabb. If he's released by Washington, this could all change but for now the Vikings appear to be the clear-cut leader in the clubhouse when it comes to Donovan's services.

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 11:18 am
 

Report: Kolb, Fitzgerald have private workout

Posted by Will Brinson

There are two things we know to be true about this NFL offseason. One, lockouts are terrible. And two, going 24 hours without a rumor about Kevin Kolb is impossible.

This latest rumor from our friend Craig Morgan at Fox Sports Arizona though, is pretty darn spicy, because it gives a LOT of credence to the whole "Arizona will trade for Kolb as soon as the lockout ends" theory.

See, Morgan reports that Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Kolb "organized a private throwing session" at Arizona State earlier in July.

This is not different from many of Fitzgerald's offseason workouts in that it involves another star player in the NFL. But it is different from most of Fitz's offseason workouts because it was -- until now anyway -- kept secret.

Oh, and because it involves the guy that nearly everyone in the NFL believes will be his next quarterback. And because it comes hot on the heels of some very specific rumors about the Kolb trade and Cards coach Ken Wisenhunt saying no one is untouchable.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we're getting a vote on the labor deal from the players any time on Friday, which means we're at least a few more days away from being able to concretely speculate on what the trade for Kolb will involve.

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Posted on: July 1, 2011 7:38 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 5:12 pm
 

Kafka ready, Kolb to bring 'surprise' in return?

Posted by Will Brinson

There's a reasonable argument that no one's benefited more from the lockout than Eagles' quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Sure, he might be the starter for a team right now if the league weren't locked out, but his value's gone through the roof as teams have found themselves in need of capable signal callers and unable to make personnel moves.

In fact, Kolb's been getting so much love that Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter tweeted today that the Cardinals, where Kolb landing is supposedly a "slam dunk" are offering up a name for the quarterback that "will surprise" people.

Right off the bat, Patrick Peterson pops in my head for this, if only because he was initially considered a strong possibility as a draft-and-trade, and it would be pretty shocking if the Cards ended up handing a No. 5 overall pick for Kolb.
Kevin Kolb: So Hot Right Now

Other names that would qualify as a "surprise" include: Larry Fitzgerald (not happening), Darnell Dockett (the tweets would make it worth it), Alan Faneca (since he's, you know, retired), Beanie Wells (the Eagles don't need a running back and wait, what, he still has value?), and Max Hall (because that would be a bamboozling).

Realistically, Peterson is the only name that can shock at this point, but even that seems like a stretch, right?

But, hey, you never know, and if the Eagles have that deal in place, they have to take it. Especially since Mike Kafka's already got John Beck-like confidence coursing through his veins.

"I definitely think they’re confident I can run their system and run the plays they call," Kafka said recently, per Tim McManus of Philadelphia Sports Daily. "I’m excited for the opportunity to go out and do that."

Alright, that's a stretch, but Marty Mornhinweg's got even better things to say, pointing out to McManus that Kafka might "be the best rookie that I’ve ever had in 15, 16, 17 years."

That's high praise, and a clear-cut indication why the Eagles will be willing to move Kolb for a player that can improve their team in another area.

Fortunately for them, the offseason's given plenty of teams reason to up the ante.

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 9:04 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Fox: Orton, Tebow, Quinn will compete for QB job

Posted by Ryan Wilson

New Broncos coach John Fox may not have access to his players, but he's used the lockout to watch film of every game of each player on Denver's roster.

"I like the guys on our team right now, but I can't tell you how much yet," Fox told the Denver Post. "I've only spent one day with them. You find out how much you like them when you get on the field with them. There's nothing like seeing them with the naked eye."

And despite the rumors that Kyle Orton could end up elsewhere when the 2011 season starts, Fox still contends all three quarterbacks -- Orton, Tim Tebow and even Brady Quinn -- will compete for the starting job.

"I've said it before and I mean it: It'll be a competition," Fox said. "Competition is what this game's about, whether if it's an opponent or a depth chart. It's been this way as long as I can remember."

Fair enough, but Tebow seems to be the favorite; Orton appears destined to be traded; and Quinn, as has been the case for most of his NFL career, could be the odd man out.

Not that it means anything because players from around the league often work out together in the offseason, but Orton trained with Larry Fitzgerald recently. That the Cardinals are in the market for a new quarterback only fuel the rumors.

Depending on when the lockout ends, there's also the slim possibility that Fox might want to acquire veteran QB Jake Delhomme (they were together in Carolina) to serve as a mentor. And since Orton is entering his seventh year in the league, it's safe to assume Delhomme would be working with Tebow. That's another sign that Orton might not be long for Denver. But that's less surprising than Fox saying Quinn has a legit shot at the starting job.

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 8:58 am
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Kyle Orton works out with Larry Fitzgerald

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Save the few hours during the April draft, we haven't officially had an offseason. It's left plenty of time for speculation, mostly about which players will end up where once free agency begins.

On Thursday, we wrote about Kevin Kolb, currently with the Eagles but likely to end up elsewhere, perhaps Arizona. But Cardinals coaches are reportedly concerned about Kolb's decision making, and if he's a good fit for Ken Whisenhunt's offense.

Which brings us to contestant No. 2: Kyle Orton. We haven't heard much from him lately, but like Kolb, he has previously been linked to Arizona because he's a) available, and b) an above-average quarterback, something the Cards haven't had since Kurt Warner retired after the 2009 season.

With Tebow-mentum building in Denver, there's probably nothing left for Orton, at least as a starter, even though he's proven he can run an offense. (More than that, as a rookie in Chicago, he replaced an injured Rex Grossman and went along for the ride on an 11-5 season and the playoffs. We said yesterday that the Cardinals don't need Tom Brady, they just need someone to steer clear of the icebergs; Orton can do that.) So it's not altogether surprising to see that he's working out with … Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Actually, players -- despite their team affiliation and even sometimes their professional league -- work out all the time. During an appearance on NFL Network's Total Access this week Hines Ward admitted that he trains with Calvin Johnson. What does that mean? Well, that he trains with Calvin Johnson. Hines isn't going to the Lions and Megatron isn't coming to the Steelers.

And Fitzgerald tweeted as much Thursday, admitting that he's known Orton for a while. (Also on hand for the workouts: Eric Decker, Laurent Robinson, and Kyle Orton's dad. Funny, we don't hear about those guys potentially ending up in Arizona.)

So while these workouts aren't out of the ordinary, it raises another question: If you're the Cards, do you want Kolb, an unproven starter who has drawn comparisons (OK, comparison, singular) to Tom Brady? Or is Orton, a player with a ton of starting experience but perhaps a lower ceiling, the better fit?

We're leaning toward Orton. The free-bowl-of-soup haircut screams franchise QB. (But it looks good on him! That's a joke, obviously, but we really do think Orton makes the most sense for Arizona.)

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Posted on: April 21, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Larry Fitzgerald has his young teammates' backs

Posted by Andy BenoitL. Fitzgerald

Last week, Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware opted to put his $60,000 lockout stipend back into the NFLPA’s pot in order to help his less financially stable brethren. This week, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is indicating that he’s willing to do the same thing (and more, if need be).

Fitzgerald said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com, that the NFLPA’s financial plan to aid players during the lockout is fantastic, “but for my young guys [like] Stephen Williams, Max Hall, Isaiah Williams, all the guys that are on my team they know if they need anything all they gotta to do is pick up the phone and I’m going to be there for them and support them any way I can.”

In other words, Fitzgerald would be willing to play banker.

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