PHOENIX — Larry Fitzgerald says he has restructured his contract with the Arizona Cardinals, reducing a big salary-cap hit from his old deal and creating room for signing other players.
Fitzgerald announced the move on Tuesday via his Twitter account. The receiver says the move was made to help the Cardinals “get better for 2014.”
Under his old deal, Fitzgerald would have earned $12.75 million next season and counted a whopping $18 million on the cap.
The restructured contract came as no surprise.
Fitzgerald said in a radio interview in New York last week that he understood the need to restructure his deal.
“When those discussions come I will do what I need to do,” Fitzgerald told Arizona Sports 98.7 in an interview at the Super Bowl’s “radio row.” ”I have a great relationship with (general manager) Steve Keim, he drafted me in Arizona. I understand his vision and what he is trying to do and the direction he is taking this ballclub. I understand at 30 years old there are things that need to change. That’s part of football, that’s part of being an older veteran.”
Fitzgerald said he knew Patrick Peterson’s “deal is coming up and he needs to be compensated as the best corner in the game, which I feel he is.”
Fitzgerald also mentioned defensive linemen Darnell Dockett and Frostee Rucker.
“There are a lot of guys that deserve to be compensated for their play,” he said in the radio interview, “and I understand that.”
Fitzgerald is on his third contract in his 10 NFL seasons, all with the Cardinals. Last season, he made his eighth Pro Bowl. Fitzgerald holds every Cardinals career receiving record.
He caught 82 passes, most on the team, for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. In his career, Fitzgerald has 846 catches for 11,367 yards and 87 touchdowns. He has not missed a game since the 2007 season.
The Cardinals, coming off a 10-6 season in their first year with Keim as GM and Bruce Arians as coach, had several players on one-year contracts, including inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, who resurrected his career with a big season, leading the team in tackles.
Azcentral.com reported that the restructuring was a simple swap of bonus money for salary, saving the team about $10 million on the coming season’s cap.
Cardinals President Michael Bidwill expressed confidence last week that the restructuring would get done.
Keim has repeatedly said the team has no intention of trading Fitzgerald and wants him to retire a Cardinal.