Financial Implications: Trading Larry Fitzgerald

He’s been lost among a slew of bad rosters since the departure of Kurt Warner in Arizona, but Larry Fitzgerald is still considered an elite, Top-3 wide receiver in the NFL. With rumors now swirling that the Cardinals are indeed prepared to shop Fitzgerald after the 2013 season, we’ll take a look at what this might mean financially for each side going forward.
USATSI_7352833_160074578_lowresWe’ll take a look at the current financial situation for Fitzgerald and the implications that could occur should the Cardinals agree to move him to another team.


Current Remaining Contract Breakdown

Year Base S. Bonus Misc. Cap Dead
2014 12,750,000 2,000,000 3,250,000 18,000,000 13,000,000
2015 8,000,000 2,000,000 11,250,000 21,250,000 8,000,000
2016 15,000,000 3,250,000 18,250,000 3,000,000
2017 14,750,000 250,000 15,000,000
2018 14,750,000 250,000 15,000,000

Related: View the complete breakdown for all of Fitzgerald’s contracts

Fitzgerald is owed another $65.25 million in base salary alone from 2014-2018. Add in an annual workout bonus of $250,000, and a 2015 Roster Bonus of $8 million, and the deal contains $74.5 million of CASH left on the table to be made.


Arizona Cardinals’ Dead Money
When a trade is processed a player’s dead money, or bonus/guaranteed money not yet allocated to the salary cap, must stay with the team with which the contract was signed. The same holds true when a player is released/waived.

Outside of the salary figures broken down above, the only unallocated bonus money lies in the 2014-15 pro-ration from the signing bonus, and $9 million from the $15 million 2012 Option Bonus, broken down at $3 million per year. In total Fitzgerald holds $13 million dead money following 2013. We’ll break down this dead money as if the trade occurs after June 1, 2014.

Year Base S. Bonus OPTION Cap
2014 0 2,000,000 3,000,000 5,000,000
2015 0 2,000,000 6,000,000 8,000,000


Cap Savings
With a 2014 cap hit of $18,000,000, and a 2015 cap of $21,250,000 currently, trading Fitzgerald after June 1, 2014 will immediately clear the $13 million from their 2014 salary cap, and $13.25 million from their 2014 cap.


The Remaining Contract Breakdown…

2014 12,750,000 0 250,000 13,000,000
2015 8,000,000 0 250,000 8,250,000
2016 15,000,000 0 250,000 15,250,000
2017 14,750,000 250,000 15,000,000
2018 14,750,000 250,000 15,000,000

With absolutely no guaranteed salary left on the deal, the new team would have the ability to restructure this contract (possibly even extending it a year or two) in order to reduce the cap figures from 2016-18, and then hold a minimal amount of dead money to trade or release Fitzgerald a bit down the road.


Category: NFL Spots


Article by: Michael Ginnitti

Managing Editor of Spotrac