Boldin Speculation Not New

Anquan BoldinThe Cardinals have known for a while that signing Fitzgerald to a new, monster extension could trigger some locker room jealousy. isn’t enlightening us today with any new information (speculation?). All organizations are acutely aware of the rifts big contracts can cause.

Boldin’s contract isn’t up until after the 2010 season. If you consider that during that time he will make $7 million to Fitzgerald’s $30+ million — yes, it’s likely he’ll ask for some sort of renegotiation.

The questions are — how hard will he push? Will Rosenhaus be as obnoxious as we are painfully aware he can be? Do the Cardinals care to invest so much money in the WR position (likely not)?

Time will tell. I wouldn’t count on anything happening this off-season, though. Ignore this one… for now.

Bad Contracts Lead to Bad Situations

I’ve written extensively about the situation the Cardinals have gotten themselves in with Larry Fitzgerald. No need to rehash that.

Dunce Hat
Rod Graves, Go Sit in the Corner

What I’m going to point out today is the notion that somehow the Cardinals are the victim in this disaster is completely ludicrous. From Kent Somers today:

But they’ve known for years that they could face this situation. It’s the price teams pay for picking high in the draft. Fitzgerald was the third overall pick in 2004, and he signed a deal laden with incentives that would pay him handsomely if he became an elite player.

This is not the price teams pay for picking high in the draft. It is the price teams pay for negotiating a short-sighted, stupid contract. With his rookie deal, the Cardinals essentially said “if you become a star, we’re going to be broke and you’re going to have us by the balls.”

And if they saw this situation coming last year (there were plenty who did), why didn’t they get Fitzgerald to the negotiating table and hammer out a deal then?

I genuinely enjoy Somers’ reporting and viewpoint from Arizona, but he’s wrong here. This is their own fault, and it’s not common.

Even when the Cardinals do something right (draft a future superstar), they screw it up.

Cardinals vs. Fitzgerald Press War?

When an organization and a player are negotiating behind closed doors it is often difficult to get a handle on how the negotiations are faring. Unless someone is a bonehead, both sides tend to downplay disagreements and give a positive spin on the situation.

But when things head south, you often see the battle for public opinion fought through proxies — the press corps.

That brings me to a new article written by Pete Prisco of CBS Sports. In it, he fawns over what he sees as the Cardinals new free-spending ways. He never criticizes them for getting in the Fitzgerald mess in the first place. Nor does he mention that Fitzgerald has all the leverage in this case, and that the union is often working behind the scenes pushing the player to get every penny.

What he does say, is this:

The Cardinals have offered Fitzgerald $25 million in guaranteed money, but he wants more than the $32.5 million in guarantees that Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson got last year. But that guaranteed money was paid on a six-year deal. Parker wants more on a four-year deal. Offering $25 million on four years is not being cheap. How about more like being unrealistic on the part of the player?

Is Fitzgerald worth that money? Of course he isn’t. But who is? In the current NFL climate, where journeymen free agents will get paid, Fitzgerald deserves a new deal — just not the outrageous numbers he’s seeking.

He is young and popular and the Cardinals want to keep him, but at the same time they would love to keep their team together — and maybe make it better.

The receiver’s greed won’t let that happen.

He’s not done, though. He goes on to talk about how Fitzgerald is selfishly keeping the team from improving and not allowing them to re-sign valuable players like Calvin Pace. Finally…

One thing’s for certain about these talks: The Cardinals aren’t being cheap. That’s the old Cardinals. The new Cardinals have the revenue to give out lucrative contracts, and in this case they are more than willing to do so.

What I’m trying to say here is that it’s difficult to imagine a more one-sided article. Maybe this is just another internet blowhard’s opinion piece, but it could also be a journalist whose opinion being helped along by someone in the Cardinals organization.

Pressure Mounting on Cardinals

Each day that goes by brings us closer to the start of the NFL Free Agency signing period. For the Cardinals organization, it’s more pressure than usual. They have cap space, about as much as the Eagles in fact. The problem is only 35 players are under contract for 2008. They have a TON of players to sign, some of them really important — as I’ve written about extensively.

From the Arizona Republic’s Kent Somers:

“They like Calvin and would like to have him back, but they have a lot on their plate,” Dye said.

That quote is a common one among agents currently doing business with the Cardinals. What the Cardinals have on their plate is trying to restructure the contract of receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is due to make $14.6 million this year. The Cardinals free agency plans hinge on getting that deal done. If they don’t, they will have difficulty signing anyone in free agency, including Pace.

The Fitzgerald contract is holding their entire off-season hostage. They need to come to a resolution, one way or another, soon.

Cardinals Taking Steps to Keep Fitzgerald

Yesterday the Arizona Cardinals announced the restructuring of Bertrand Berry’s contract. It is estimated to give the team $3 million more in cap space this season than it otherwise would have.

Berry was asked to take a pay cut (or be cut) because of his injury issues.

The extra space should be at least a little helpful for balancing the 2008 checkbook and keeping Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona.