Over the course of the offseason we'll be breaking down the San Francisco 49ers current cap situation. However, we want to remain informed about what the rest of the NFC West is doing. Over the next week or so I'm going to put together some thoughts on each of the 49ers' divisional rivals. We'll take a look at the top ten cap hits, and any potential re-negotiations on the horizon.
I am starting with the Arizona Cardinals because they are in the news as of last night. Larry Fitzgerald tweeted out that he signed a restructured contract to clear up some cap space for 2014. We have some reports on the contract details, courtesy of Albert Breer and Brian McIntyre.
Larry Fitzgerald converted $11.75M of his $12.75M base for 2014 into a bonus. So the Cardinals save $9.4 million on their 2014 salary cap.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 5, 2014
One more try at Fitz's new cap figures for '14-18: $8.6M, $23.6M, $17.6M, $17.35M, $17.35M. (Correcting my bad math on the '15 figure)— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 5, 2014
In 2015, Larry Fitzgerald has a $23.6M cap figure with an $8M roster bonus due on 5th day of that league year.— Brian McIntyre (@brian_mcintyre) February 5, 2014
Entering the offseason, Larry Fitzgerald had a cap figure of $18 million, far and away the largest on the Cardinals roster. Following Fitzgerald's adjustment, here is a look at the Cardinals top ten cap figures, according to Over The Cap.
1. QB Carson Palmer - $12,000,000
2. DE Calais Campbell - $11,250,000
3. DT Darnell Dockett - $8,750,000
4. WR Larry Fitzgerald - $8,600,000
5. OG Daryn Colledge - $7,275,000
6. ILB Daryl Washington - $6,000,000
7. CB Patrick Peterson - $5,863,932
8. CB Jerraud Powers - $4,750,000
9. C Lyle Sendlein - $4,125,000
10. OLB John Abraham - $3,925,000
According to our friends at Over The Cap, the Cardinals entered the offseason with $1,027,587. That is based on a cap of $126.3 million. It could get up near $128 million, but that is still to be determined. Even with another $1.7 million, that's not enough to sign their own draft picks, let along make any moves in free agency.
Naturally, they had to do some adjusting, and Fitzgerald was the first. This new deal boosts them up over $10 million in cap space. Early reports also indicate the Cardinals may look to cut Daryn Colledge, which could save them $2.7 million in cap space. Darnell Dockett could apparently also be a restructure candidate. They will likely re-work some other deals to create additional space.
It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals handle Fitzgerald's deal after next season. As Breer pointed out, Fitzgerald is looking at a cap hit of $23.6 million. The $8 million roster bonus mentioned by McIntyre might be on top of that, but it is not completely clear. Either way, the Cardinals will eventually have to pay the piper with regard to Fitzgerald.
As with everybody else, the Cardinals have their 2011 draft class eligible for contract extensions. The only notable player from that class that would seemingly have a chance at a big extension is first round pick Patrick Peterson. The cornerback is doing some great things, but look for the Cardinals to exercise his fifth year option. I suspect most teams will exercise the fifth year option, and then deal with extension talks over the next year. We'll see the same with Aldon Smith.
Speaking of the salary cap and the offseason, here is a list of Cardinals free agents.
Unrestricted free agents:
- Rashard Mendenhall, RB
- Karlos Dansby, LB
- Jeff King, TE
- Jay Feely, K
- Antoine Cason, CB
- Andre Roberts, WR
- Eric Winston, T
- Dave Zastudil, P
- Matt Shaughnessy, OLB/DE
- Javier Arenas, CB
- Yeremiah Bell, S
- Frostee Rucker, DL
- Mike Gibson, C/G
- Kory Sperry, TE
- Bryan McCann, CB
- Jim Dray, TE
Restricted free agents:
Exclusive rights free agents: