Larry Fitzgerald is Only a Wide Receiver

Chris Johnson is probably still a little jealous right about now. While he sits at home, Larry Fitzgerald is enjoying his first day with a brand spanking new 8 year, $120 million contract. With this new deal, the Arizona Cardinals have told Larry Fitzgerald that he is not only one of the best receivers in football but one of the very best that the game has to offer.

This is stupid.

It’s not stupid to say that Larry Fitzgerald is the best receiver in football nor is it stupid to say that he is one of the very best that the game has to offer.

However, it is stupid to give a receiver (a rumoured) $50 million in guaranteed money. It looks like Homer Simpson is back to controlling professional sports franchises again. At least, I would hope so.

The Arizona Cardinals ownership seems determined to relive the winning magic that they experienced not too long ago. Maybe some Cardinals fans can take comfort in the fact that ownership was willing to overpay for the two cornerstone pieces of the franchises in Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald.

Not me. Luckily, I’m not a Cardinals fan.

It’s going to take a lot to justify giving a wide receiver, of all positions, $50 million in guaranteed money. To the best of my knowledge, this isn’t Madden football and the Cardinals do not possess the power to simply turn the salary cap mode off. This isn’t Major League Baseball. In a desperate attempt to prove that they care, the Bidwell family is potentially hampering their organization for years to come.

$120 million for a player who touches the ball 10 times on a good day is a troublesome thought. The Cardinals already overpaid when they addressed the most important position in football. For the most part, I’m fine with that. In all likelihood, John Skelton isn’t your guy.

A wide receiver can only do so much though. Yes, a great receiver can be a game-breaker but in no way will he ever be a $120 million game-breaker.

An inability to manoeuvre with any sort of flexibility under the cap is always an issue with these contracts but with a franchise quarterback like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning that kind of money is certainly justifiable.

Even Peyton Manning and Tom Brady took pay cuts to ensure that they gave their team some financial flexibility.

Larry Fitzgerald wasn’t willing to take a pay cut and his team is going to suffer for it. He may not act like a diva but his ego is obviously similar to a diva. Personally, I think it’s selfish to sign a contract of that magnitude but that’s a story for another day.

Related: Who is Peyton Manning?

No one forced the Arizona Cardinals to pay Fitzgerald that much. Either way, they should have backed out instead. His contract could have been someone else’s problem next year. That money should have been spent better.

A great receiver can push a good team over the edge. A great receiver cannot make a bad team a good team. What do we think of Steve Smith’s $10.9 million per year contract with the Carolina Panthers?

Heck, that’s nothing.

Sure, Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most beloved players in the history of the franchise but that shouldn’t get in the way of running a business. Not to this degree. The last thing any organization needs is tying up a ridiculous amount of money in a person that doesn’t take every snap.

Alone, Larry Fitzgerald cannot turn his Arizona Cardinals into a winner. I mean, he is only a wide receiver.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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27 Responses to Larry Fitzgerald is Only a Wide Receiver

  1. patton26 says:

    I don’t know about Larry being a diva and having an ego. That’s definitely not him. However, he did need to take less money for this team to be competitive all the way around. The guaranteed money he was given by Arizona ensures that Arizona will have trouble building up a defense that has been on the decline.

  2. OldKingCole says:

    I’m in the middle on this one. Larry Fitzgerald is an elite wide receiver. Guys of his caliber are hard to come by. I wouldn’t have signed him to an 8 year deal, and the money is a little bit much, but frankly he’s proven he can take over guys by himself, and he’s proven that with even a small amount of talent opposite him he can explode. If you’re going all in with Kevin Kolb, I won’t fault them for making sure Kolb will not have an excuse of not having weapons to work with. Also, Fitzgerald’s contract will be workable around the cap. I’m sure there will be some restructuring down the road, but the Cardinals would have to be idiots to not look ahead at their cap situations. And remember, this is a team that’s not far removed from the Superbowl. They’re not a bad team, they just have really bad quarterbacks.

  3. Chuckie Maggio says:

    Agree some and disagree some, but you hit your points mostly right on the nose, good post. Keep reading mine also

  4. Jb smooth says:

    You make good arguments, I think he should’ve left, the cardinals don’t strike me as a team that will do whatever it takes to win. $50 million is a boatload of money, I definitely wouldn’t do it. I disagree that any player should turn down money. The owners barely want to pay fair value as is.

  5. Thanks for the comment on my blog first. Second good post. Thirdly, Fitzgerald getting the money means one thing that the Cardinals franchise has never done until recently and that is actually pay their players. For years they did not pay their players and watched their future pro bowl caliber players walk away while we get nothing in return. With Wilson, Dockett, Kolb, and now Fitzgerald getting their money, they are at least trying. That is something that the “same old Cardinals” would never do. For that I am hopeful for the team. And Fitzgerald is one of the best players Cardinals fan will ever see play for their team. He also is a great guy and does great work for the Phoenix area. Not to mention last year he still had over 1,000 yards and 90 catches with 6 TDs. And that was with Derek Andersen, Max Hall, and John Skelton throwing him the ball! He gets his no matter who else is on his team. Then you got the fact that he had the greatest four game playoff performance by a WR in NFL history. If Kolb is decent enough to get the team to the playoffs then who knows what will happen. Fitzgerald is much more than just a top wideout. He trains more and harder than almost every player in NFL. Then he helps mentor the young players as the team’s leader and captain. And if the Cardinals lost Fitzgerald it would have been devastating to the franchise and we would have been set back a lot. Not to mention now we do not have any major losses to FA in the next few years. I understand where you are coming from, but this is a major moment in turning the tide for the Cardinals front office. Of course if we do not win then it is a bad deal, but if we do win which I think we can do in the weak NFC West, then this will all be worth it.

    • Also Larry Fitzgerald is not a diva and his ego is not like one of a diva.

      • michael says:

        No not a Diva just a Hypocrite at his finest!
        ” Im not one to hold a hammer over anyone’s head”
        Well lets see…. You wanted to see us over spend for a QB and we did (funny how it was the one you were working out with and wanted)
        You wont negotiate after Sept. 4th… and so on and so forth!
        Sounds like a hammer to me!

    • michael says:

      You are wrong….. The best WR the CArds have ever Screwed is Anquan! Just look at his Game Changing Plays.. Not good enough? look at his stats going in to last year.. only 2 more games than Fitz and way more …well everything! Sure Fitz had a great playoff run. But in the first game vs ATL it was Q who made the first blow! With out Q’s TD we loose that game! In Carolina Our D torched them! it was not Fitz, VS Philly it was Wilson who sewed up the game.
      We just paid 50mil gur. for a jump ball WR!!!! Way to screw the pooch AZ!!!!! So who is going to take the coverage from Fits like Q and Breston did? hahahaha

      • Scharf says:


        Just because Kevin Kolb was the QB the Cardinals went for doesn’t mean Fitzgerald was the driving force behind the decision. Last time I checked his name isn’t on the front office roster, it’s on the team roster. The Arizona Cardinals expressed interest in Kevin Kolb when he was in the draft, unfortunately they were trying to fix a deteriorating offensive line that failed time and time again for the Cardinals. With Matt Leinart and then signed Kurt Warner the team didn’t feel a need to go QB.

        Also – While your evaluation of Boldin is pretty right on the nose on most points. I’m going to have to disagree that he is better than Larry because they both took pressure off one another. The fact is Boldin was constantly hurt when we went to the playoffs and in fact I think we were 5-1 in games without Boldin? I could be slightly wrong but I know it was a winning percentage. You also can’t tell me you forgot about the 3 TD’s Fitzgerald scored against Philly. We now have our veteran WR, and a developing young core in Andre Roberts, Stephen Williams, and even Early Doucet (Who has been very accident prone but hopes to have a good season this year.)

      • michael says:

        Kolb wasn’t in the equation when Fitz said he liked bulger the coaches started looking at bulger… Then Fitzy worked out with Kolb and boom, We go off and make a Stupid Decision in what we gave for him, I dont diss like the acquisition Just don’t like what we paid for an un proven QB..

        My point was simple, Fitzy said he is not the kind to hold a hammer over heads, but that is exactly what he did!

        You say ” I’m going to have to disagree that he is better than Larry because they both took pressure off one another.” Sooo not true! Q was doing what he did before fitz got here with way worse QB talent! Hurt… Sure He was a baller but if you go look at the stats prior to last year Larry only played 2 less games in his NFL career than Q at that point, and Q had Way more yards, TD’s his YAC was way better Every thing was better Game for Game! And no Fitz would not have gained 700 Yards in 2 games! LOL

        Very true we were 5-1 with out Q but We had Steve and Warner! It had little to do with Fitz if fitz was out it would have been Q and Steeve.
        As for the play off run My point was simple If Q had not scored first in the ATL game, there would have not been a great play off run! And with out the D We would have went no further, If you dont think Warner was the true Factor in Larry’s Great Run Just look at last year! No Q and No Warner!…
        Larry’s YAC Sucks he dives before contact!
        Like I said A Jump Ball Receiver..

        PS: I know A Player I went to High School With, Who Played in AZ back in the 90’s and played with the rams With Warner… He conformed to me that Warner Said he would play in AZ as long as Q was here, He found out about 3 weeks prior to his retirement announcement that Q was going to Balt. Then the retirement of Warner happened! Think About it! Why would Warner not Want to be A Card And retire on Q’s exit? lol He knew who was the baller and who was the benefactor of Q’s play!

        Funny how most all the Corners in the League would rather cover Fitz than Q?
        God Bless

  6. brief22 says:

    Hey Chris,

    Great post! At first when I saw the title, I disagreed (thinking of Fitzgerald’s abilities as a receiver), but your points persuaded me, and now I realize that he is surely not worth $120 Million. Hope you can check out my blog. (


  7. Scharf says:

    Um. Wow. No matter what the Cardinals do it always seems to present negative feedback from the same old people. If Fitzgerald had walked away those same few who said Arizona overpaid would be saying great job Cardinals for letting another all-star walk away. I just can’t believe flip-flopped comments coming from flip-flopped people. The fact of the matter is Larry Fitzgerald is worth every penny. While many of you might agree the amount is too much, you have to remember this isn’t the Colts, Steelers, Patriots, etc. This is the Arizona Cardinals, a team that has allowed countless Pro Bowlers to leave for other teams because they didn’t want to pull out the pocketbook. The Arizona Cardinals are heading into a great direction that will open many eyes this season.

    • Chris Ross says:

      This comment just confused me on why I am suddenly included in this so-called “group.” I’m sure that there are some people that do this but lumping a person, who really hasn’t written or said anything about the Cardinals in the past, into that group kind of, maybe a little bit stupid.

      Anyways, it sounds to me from your comment that you are happy that ownership has opened up their pocketbooks but it is for all the wrong reasons. Simply because they haven’t done so in the past doesn’t mean that now is the right time to do so. Handing out cash is one thing but giving out your bank account number is quite another. It’s good to see that ownership finally cares but it’s the desperation — stemming from the caring — that has lead to the foolishness exhibited in this deal. It may not have any repercussions in the short term. However, in the grand scheme of things it will almost undoubtedly hold back the team in ways that you can’t even fathom right now.

  8. tophatal says:


    Go down the list of GM’s in the NFL and in baseball and perhaps you’ll begin to realize the similar traits that they have . Sh_t for brains that’s what these guys have in common !

    Nothing wrong in offering Fitzgerald the money he’s getting as he’s the ” one bright “ spot on that team !

    GM Rod Graves however , hasn’t done a good job in surrounding the player with the best talent possible . Kolb ain’t gonna cut it with them this season it’s been proven at best he’s a moderate quarterback .

    tophatal …………

  9. unclemonkey says:

    I agree 100% – a wide receiver only touches the ball anywhere from 0 to 12ish times. While they are an important position, this is only going to drive the salaries up even farther when the next RB or QB wants their pay day. I’m sick of the out of control spending in sports – it is the fans who are going to be hurt in the end. It will become a game that only rich people can enjoy to go to and we are stuck watching it on tv – which will likely become pay per view one day anyway to help offset all the costs.

  10. chappy81 says:

    I don’t think I would’ve given him that much money, but if he doens’t live up to it, like every other contract in the NFL they can cut him. I think a reason they may have done this is because their division is so bad. Keeping your stars happy might make the team play better, and help them to a couple post-season appearances in that ugly division…

  11. JW says:

    This contract exemplifies what is wrong in pro sports. We just got done listening to a bunch of owners crying about the growth of salaries and then they throw $120 million at a wide reciever. The Cardinals just blew up the market, so now the team to watch is the Titans and what they do with Chris Johnson.

    This is exactly what Jerry Reinsdorf did in baseball…cried to all the other owners about escalating salaries, then made Albert Belle the highest-paid player in the game at that time.

  12. Fitzgerald is the heart and soul of that Cardinals offensive unit, if not the Cardinals itself. The fact that he signed this contract guarantees that he will be a Cardinal for the rest of his career. With FA signings like Todd Heap, the Cardinals should have a great offense and maybe win their division. Regardless of that, $120 million for an eight year deal and $50 million guaranteed is a lot of money. It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals accommodate the salary cap after this. By the way, nice write up!

  13. geek123 says:

    50 mil is guranteed. you never know, what kind of performance measures set for him to earn the full 120 mil. Cards may have worked out a great net to catch him for every catch of him. As my man Shrederdude said, it is ok to pay for their heart and soul.

  14. Agree completely Chris. Larry Fitzgerald is only a WR, a great one, but still just a wide receiver. He’s not worth THAT much money. I’m a little disappointed he took it, I thought he was a team player. He’s worth a lot of money, but not that much.

  15. Fitzgerald is a bad bad man, that would be putting up Bonds-esque inflated numbers if he were paired with a Brady or Brees. Contract is a bit high, I agree, but without keeping Fitzgerald happy, they would have pretty much nothing for fans to watch in AZ, and ultimately no money coming in. Ha, Homer Simpson would be a great GM, but I doubt he’d pay the players anything at all, excluding mascots and of course the beer vendors.

  16. jnkreydt says:

    I can see the Cardinals perspective. They want to keep one of the best wide receivers in the league, and they’ll probably make that money back by keeping the fans coming to see him. But I still agree with you. Spending that much money on a wide receiver is ridiculous. It’s not like they’re going to make the Super Bowl with the rest of their team. Having a more expensive wide receiver than their quarterback is like buying an expensive car, but not having money to put gas in it.

  17. Chris,

    Thanks for visiting I think Larry Fitzgerald’s ability as a WR is almost irrelevant. The only player I would pay that amount of money is an elite QB. Fitzgerald will only touch the ball 10 times on a good day. I think the Cardinals were crazy to pay him that much money.

  18. Bobby Charts says:

    I just cant understand in all sports the moves that GM’s or Owner’s make when it comes to signing or trading someone, like your post on Denver moving up to draft Tebow, What? I just dont get it, its like these teams have to to throw away. nice post!

  19. agraysports says:

    Hey man, thanks for the feedback! I agree that Fitzgerald was overpaid if you consider it from a business aspect. Larry can only touch the ball so many times per game, and he relies heavily on his Quarterback and his offensive line to get him the ball. It has also skewed the Chris Johnson deal, because now Johnson wants “play maker” money, instead of being satisfied with being compensated as an elite running back. However, if you were to overpay for somebody, who better to splurge on than the fan favorite All Pro wideout? Keep postin’, and I’ll keep reading. Return the favor? Thanks!

  20. Chris

    It’s now in Fitzgerald’s best interest to seek a trade , rather than remaining with the Cardinals , as the franchise is now heading into an even deeper abyss of sheer ineptitude .

    Late and belated Christmas wishes but even more so , happy and Prosperous New Year ! My regards to you , the immediate family and to your patrons .

    Tophatal ……

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