- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Larry Fitzgerald's message was consistent during his tour through Radio Row at the Super Bowl.
He's open to restructuring his mega contract.
That's great news for the Arizona Cardinals and bad news for teams who thought they may have had an outside shot at landing the star receiver.
“When those discussions come, I'll do what I need to do,” Fitzgerald said on The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta. “I have a great relationship with (Cardinals general manager) Steve Keim. He drafted me here in Arizona 10 years ago. I understand his vision, what he's trying to do. I love coach (Bruce) Arians and the direction he's taking this ball club. I understand at 30-years old there's things that need to change and that's part of football, that's part of being an older veteran and part of this league. I want to see this team do well. I love the nucleus of guys.”
Fitzgerald's cap number balloons to $18 million in 2014 while he'll take home $13 million. That cap number is too large for the Cardinals to shoulder heading into free agency. But restructure doesn't mean renegotiate. It's just a fancy word for figuring out how to pay Fitzgerald without giving him one lump sum. He'll still earn the same money but it'll be distributed in a way that will spread out the cap hit over years and free up more money for the Cardinals to re-sign free agents or sign new ones.
Fitzgerald, who was excited when he talked about the Cardinals' future, mentioned the upcoming negotiations expected between Arizona and Patrick Peterson. He just finished the third year of his rookie contract which, under CBA rules, allows him to start renegotiating.
“He needs to be compensated as the best corner in the game, which I feel he is,” Fitzgerald said. “We got to take care of (linebacker) Karlos Dansby, (defensive end) Frostee Rucker. There's a lot of guys that deserve to be compensated for their play and I understand that.”
As of Thursday, the Cardinals have 15 expiring contracts to either renegotiate or let terminate.
Kent Somers of AZCentral.com, who's in New York for the Super Bowl, talked to a few Cardinals Thursday and from the sound of it, Arizona has begun the negotiating process with the ones they want back, including Fitzgerald.
“I think it's obviously a lot of planning and working things out with different folks and there might be a person or two we don't see eye-to-eye on the number and there's some negotiating,” Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said on The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta. “This is like this every year. And sometimes people get fired up about it.”
A report by Tom Curran of CSNNE.com resparked the conversation about Fitzgerald possibly being traded.
Curran reported that the New England Patriots put out feelers about acquiring Fitzgerald last offseason. With Fitzgerald's comments Thursday about being willing to restructure, the likelihood of him going to New England this offseason is limited because of the Patriots' lack of cap space, according to colleague Mike Reiss, who covers the Pats for ESPN's NFL Nation.