His rookie deal, signed in Aug. 2004 was a six-year contract that could have been worth up to $60 million, with a little more than $20 million in guaranteed bonus money. At the time, it was the most valuable contract ever signed by a rookie. It was signed at 2 a.m. on the eve of training camp.“Give them credit,” Fitzgerald’s agent Eugene Parker said. “They stepped up and negotiated. They were motivated, we were motivated, and even though things could be a little adversarial at times, the focus stayed on what was important: getting him there on time.”Fitzgerald went on to play very well his first few seasons in the league, and in 2007 he caught 100 passes for 1,409 yard and 10 touchdowns. Just 24 years old, Fitzgerald’s rookie contract called for him to earn $14.6 million in 2008 and $17.4 million in 2009, and the team wanted those numbers to shrink some. So, they again went to the negotiating table. And again, when the dust settled, Fitz came out on top. The extension, which was signed in March 2008, was a four-year, $40 million deal with $30 million guaranteed. The new deal locked the receiver up through 2011.“Our commitment was to make sure we continue to make progress with our football team, and we feel good about the fact that we were able to keep a player of Larry’s caliber,” Rod Graves, then Arizona’s GM, said at the time. “We are going to continue to do that with all our core players.” The following season was a banner one for Fitzgerald, as he caught 80 passes for 1,411 yards and eight touchdowns. However, his numbers dipped some since then, with him catching just 216 passes for 2,536 yards and 17 touchdowns over the next three seasons. Set to be 32 when the next season began and slated to count nearly $24 million against the team’s 2015 salary cap, the Cardinals again needed to re-work their star’s contract. This time was different, though, as some thought the team and player would not be able to agree on a price that would keep the face of the franchise in town. Would Fitzgerald, who has been accustomed to being among the highest-paid receivers in the NFL, be willing to take a substantial paycut? Turns out he didn’t have to.On Feb. 18, 2015, Fitzgerald and the team worked out an extension that was essentially a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $22 million. It freed up about $13 million in salary cap space for the team and kept Fitzgerald very well-compensated.“The two biggest goals for us were pretty simple,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim said of the deal. “Number one, to compensate Larry for the type of player, the type of talent he is and the leader that he is, and then essentially clearing enough salary cap space for us moving forward to be able to be aggressive and proactive when free agency starts.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Comments Share So, Fitzgerald played under that new deal and in that time went from being a very good receiver to one of the game’s best. He caught 96 passes for 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2008, before then going on a historic postseason run in leading the Cardinals to the Super Bowl, and then followed that up with a 97-catch, 1,092-yard, 13 TD campaign in 2009. Fitzgerald’s numbers dipped some in 2010, to “just” 90 catches, 1,137 yards and six touchdowns. At the time there was just one year left on his contract, and with the receiver set to turn just 28 before the 2011 campaign and showing no signs of slowing down, it was again time to come to an agreement. And come to an agreement, they did. Fitzgerald and the Cardinals hammered out a contract that could have been worth as much as $120 million over eight years, but carried $50 million of guaranteed money. If played all the way through, it would have kept Fitz in Arizona through the 2018 season.“Growing up, since I was 7 years old, this has been the game I love and something I have been so passionate about,” Fitzgerald said back then, “and to have to talk about it on the business side is a little bit uncomfortable. But I am really happy to put it behind us and it wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the Bidwill family’s hard work in making this thing happen.” The end result of it all has been Fitzgerald, one of the best receivers of all-time and easily the best in Cardinals history, has remained with the team for his entire career. Of course, production like that does not come cheap, as the Cardinals have paid him more than $118 million up to this point, and are set to see that total reach $140 million. In return, the Cardinals have received 909 catches, 12,151 yards and 89 touchdowns, along with a leader on the field and an excellent ambassador in the community.So, the way they see it, it’s money well spent. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Larry Fitzgerald is a great receiver, a player who holds the top spot in pretty much every category he can in the Arizona Cardinals’ record books.But while Fitzgerald has clearly excelled on the field, perhaps the one area he’s even more dominant is in contract negotiations. Really.Since being selected third overall by the Cardinals in the 2004 NFL Draft, Fitzgerald has signed his name to four different contracts or contract extensions with the team. Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Are you concerned about Michael Floyd getting back on the field?“No. Going into this offseason, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Michael so focused. Just the few days that he was available, he was having a fantastic camp. Looked like he got a little looser up top, worked on his flexibility, and was really playing with a high level of consistency. I know Michael is determined to come back, he knows what’s at stake this year both personally and team-wise, and I think that it’s hard to put a timeline on it, but Mike will be back as soon as possible.”Tell us how Lyle Sendlein ended up back in Arizona“It was one of those things where we released him in March for contractual reasons but wanted Lyle back all along. I think it was time for him to get off the couch and quit changing diapers.”Looking at the roster, you will have to part with some NFL-caliber players, right?“I think there will be some tough decisions, whether we release them or have some trade opportunities remains to be seen. I really do like the depth and some of the things we’ve seen. The additions of Corey Peters and Cory Redding — Corey Peters has had an excellent camp so far, Cory Redding has stepped in and become an instant leader. And then you have the young guys like Rodney Gunter, wow, does he still do some things. He’s still raw, but every day Brentson Buckner is working with him and some of the things he does with his hand strength, his ability to stab, are things that you don’t see naturally in a young player.” On when football season officially starts for him:“Football never stops for me.”How has training camp gone for you?“It’s been great. I dont’ know that I’ve ever had hte type of intrigue that I’ve had for this camp, with so many different positions and so many questions to be answered. It’s been fun to see — particularly when you have a couple guys go down, like Troy Niklas with the hamstring, Gresh — we’re trying to get Jermaine Gresham up to speed health-wise. He’s cleared physically, he just has to get in football shape, and he’s pretty close right now. But to see guys like Momah step up and some of the things he’s done in practice with the mismatches that he creates on the interior with his speed, his length and his athleticism, and then Darren Fells, how drastically he continues to improve, which has been really, really fun to see at that position.”Is the tight end room a weapon for this team?“You know what, it’s funny how you come out of the spring with it being a little bit of a concern because of the questions. Darren Fells still hasn’t played a ton of football. Momah was a guy that we found at the Veteran Combine here in Tempe this offseason, and was a little undersized for the position. But some of the things he does in the passing game is really unique, and he continues to shine. We always questioned whether he would be able to do it when the pads came on because he was really pretty in shorts and ran around and catch balls and look great on air, but could he do it with matchups and stuff where he had to block in line, and he has looked fantastic. And then to be able to add Jermaine Gresham in free agency this late in the season is really unique. Very few times are players of his caliber still around in late July, early August, and it was great to be able to have an opportunity to sign him.” ErrorOK ErrorOKDo you worry about the size of Jerraud Powers and Tyrann Mathieu?“No I don’t. And it’s the same thing I tell our scouts when they go out on the road. Guys, there are very few guys that fit into the category of ideal measurables, meaning that they have the perfect length and athleticism and speed for the position. So what do you have to have? You have to have compensating factors, and both of those guys have the compensating factors that are a necessity to play the position, which are eyes, instincts, awareness, foot speed, quickness in a short area. And at the end of the day, they both are competitive as hell, which is exactly what you want at that position.”What do you want to see from your team in the preseason opener?“I want to see physicality and improvement up front on both sides of the ball, which I think we’ve done. I just want to be able to see it when the lights come on. And you want to see young guys step up. The guys that you’re excited about right now, the Markus Goldens, the Gunters, the D.J. Humphries, the Momahs — guys like that who are doing things every day in practice that excite you, but this isn’t real football yet even. Even when you put the pads on in practice, it’s pointing in the right direction but I want to see it against someone else in University of Phoenix Stadium.” Your browser does not support the audio element. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling If making a trade, do you go for best player available or target a specific position?“If the opportunity comes up at this time of year, in trade talks, regardless of position, to get a talented guy, there’s no question that we would consider pulling the trigger. But generally, this time of year, talking to other general managers, you tend to focus on positions of need. Whether it’s a depth situation or it’s a guy you need to come in and play right away. But you look at some of the positions that we have on our team right now that are a little bit concerning, and inside linebacker — whether we’ve got to keep our guys healthy — running back right now, love the talent in the room, just got to get those guys healthy and back on the field. Offensive tackle went from a position of strength, Rob Crisp and D.J. Humphries have two injuries, so again, from a depth standpoint there are concerns at different positions, but when we’re healthy on the field I feel pretty good about this football team.”What is the status of Andre Ellington?“Expect to get Andre back out there this week. We’ve had some nagging issues with hamstrings here and soft tissue issues, but that’s no different — I’ve seen some other teams around the league that are going through those things. So we’ve got to get everybody back on the field. If there were a time to have some injuries I’m glad it’s right now instead of midway through the season.” Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, right, talks with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians during an NFL football training camp practice, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Comments Share Do you think Gunter can play nose tackle in the NFL?“No question. His hand strength and the snap that he creates through his hips is again, really, really impressive. I called him a head-snapper in the spring. He comes off the ball and he’ll snap offensive linemen’s heads, and that was at the college level. So the concern was can he do it to the big boys, and when you see him do it to Iupati, Coop and Lyle Sendlein every day in practice, you know this guy’s the real deal.”Where is Jonathan Cooper on your scale?“He looks just like he did when we drafted him. Has lost the little hitch he had in his movement last year with his knee. Really was concerned how last year, when he came back from the injury, didn’t quite look like himself athletically. And now, just so far into camp, you see the natural knee bend, the athleticism, the quickness and he is playing at a pretty high level right now as well. So to be able to watch him and Mike Iupati at practice — I know in the time I’ve been here, which has been a long time, we haven’t had a pair of guards that are this talented.”Has J.J. Nelson surprised you?“Here’s what I knew when we drafted him, he wasn’t fast, he was real fast. What you don’t know, and this was the same as John Brown, is he going to be able to understand the pro game when it comes to leverages and concepts in the passing game. How does he run the route tree, how are his ball-skills, particularly when he’s challenged in a crowd. And when you watch J.J. Nelson so far in camp again, and it’s early, his routes have been precise, his ability to make tough catches in a contested crowd, for a thin, lean guy, have been really, really good. And there’s no question it’s scary the way he creates separation. When he runs that 9-route or some of the things he does down the field, it’s pretty tough to see any of our corners keeping stride with him step-for-step.” What kind of camp is Kevin Minter having?“He’s having a really good camp. You know, it’s funny. When you look at different positions, and you talk about guys, and Coach (Arians) and I were talking about this last night. Sometimes you draft guys and they come in and they instantly make a difference. And sometimes we forget these are young men that need to mature and grow in a system, and sometimes it takes a little while for the light to come on. Kevin’s a guy that we have high expectations for, and so far in camp he has played at a high level. When we drafted Alex Okafor out of Texas, he was a guy that came in, was a little slow to get started, the light hadn’t come on yet. Last year the light started to come on and I think he ended with eight sacks and missed four games. And he looks like another guy who has continued to grow. Looks looser in his hips, looks like he could really be a double-digit sack guy if he continues trending in the right direction.” – / 24 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo LISTEN: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals General Manager Top Stories Sometimes, it’s best to go straight to the man in charge.And when it comes to the Arizona Cardinals’ roster, that man is Steve Keim.Arizona’s general manager since January 2013, Keim has overseen a transformation that has led to 21 wins over two seasons. His deft touch with the draft and free agency has led to the team becoming a contender in the NFC.Lucky for us, Keim happens to be a weekly guest on the Doug and Wolf Show, right here on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. And since what he has to say is important, we thought it would be a good idea to put his words into print, allowing you to read what the GM is thinking. So, without further ado, here’s this week’s edition: Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
The Arizona Cardinals interviewed John DeFilippo for their offensive coordinator position on Sunday, reports 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.DeFilippo, 40, has 12 seasons of NFL coaching experience and was most recently the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings this past season.DeFilippo didn’t last the full season in Minnesota, though. He was fired after Week 14 when the Vikings managed just seven points in a road loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact It was his second offensive coordinator job, as DeFilippo held that position with the Cleveland Browns in 2015. Most of DeFilippo’s coaching experience is as a quarterbacks coach.Related LinksArizona Cardinals agree to a deal with Sean Kugler as offensive line coachSteve Sarkisian not a candidate for Cardinals offensive coaching roleCardinals fill roles on the offensive coaching staff despite no OCPrior to the Vikings, he spent two seasons as the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and won a Super Bowl with the organization in 2017.DeFilippo has also coached quarterbacks for the Oakland Raiders (in two stints) and New York Jets.Like Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, DeFilippo has several years of college coaching experience, spending time as an assistant at San Jose State, Columbia, Fordham and Notre Dame.Kingsbury said at his introductory press conference he’d like an offensive coordinator that “will be somebody that will come in and help me mesh some of my ideas with some traditional things that they have done in the NFL.”The interview takes place a day after Steve Sarkisian was eliminated from contention. Comments Share Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires
Emirates has launched its ‘Spring into Europe’ campaign, with return fares starting at $1571* to 38 destinations across Europe.“Spring is a great time to visit Europe as the days start to get longer and the northern sunshine showcases the continent in its best light. Being just off peak, great accommodation deals can often be found and the key attractions are not quite as busy as the peak summer months,” said Rob Gurney, Emirates Divisional Vice President Australasia.“By planning in advance, Australian travellers will be able to lock in fantastic fares to some of our key destinations including London, Paris and Rome as well as our newer destinations that are growing in popularity amongst Australians such as Copenhagen and Oslo,” added Gurney.As well as the special fare, Emirates also provides 30kg of checked luggage per passenger in Economy Class and 40kg in Business Class.Return Economy Class flights from Australia begin from*:$1571 to Oslo$1588 to Copenhagen$1672 to Dublin$1709 to Rome$1733 to Paris$1736 to London$1777 to FrankfurtBusiness Class return flights from Australia begin from*:$7536 to Dublin$7538 to Oslo$7555 to Copenhagen$7524 to Rome$7642 to Frankfurt$7658 to Paris$7846 to LondonEmirates is also offering special fares to Bologna, its newest Italian gateway set to launch on 3 November 2015. Return Economy Class flights from Australia to Bologna begin from $1585 and return Business Class is $7550.Valid for ticketing and sales from now until 14 August 2015. Some blackout periods apply for dates of travel.www.emirates.com/au.*Departing from Perth.