Change is inevitable in the NFL, but not at the volume the Cardinals experienced in 2013. From the time Steve Keim was hired as general manager last January through the end of the year, the Cardinals made 193 roster moves. Of the 53 players on the final roster, 28 were not with the team in 2012, including 10 starters in the final game last Sunday against the 49ers. It’s a pace that Keim and coach Bruce Arians would prefer not to maintain in 2014, although both are believers in “churning” the bottom of the roster in hopes of finding quality players. That doesn’t mean this off-season will be quiet for Keim, Jason Licht, the vice president of player personnel, and the rest of the football staff. The Cardinals aren’t yet well-positioned for the future when it comes to length and value of players’ contracts and salary-cap management. But they didn’t expect to be. Keim often has talked about developing and maintaining a plan that accounts for the next three seasons. It’s going to take a while longer to put that into place, and here are some of the major contract issues the team faces this off-season. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s $18 million cap figure. Fitzgerald’s salary is due to increase from $5 million in 2013 to $12.75 million in 2014. The salary cap for each team is expected to increase only 2-3 percent, to around $126 million. Based on his current deal, Fitzgerald would account for about 14.3 percent of that figure. The Cardinals haven’t approached Fitzgerald’s agent, Eugene Parker, about restructuring the contract, but they will. Negotiations will be interesting because Fitzgerald isn’t going to take a pay cut. He will be open to a restructuring that might include converting salary into a bonus that can be prorated over the next few years. Something has to give, because if Fitzgerald’s cap number doesn’t decrease, the Cardinals will be handicapped when it comes to extending other deals and signing free agents.
Larry Fitzgerald not open to pay cut
Arizona Republic | Jan 1