Two potentially significant financial developments occurred today involving two of the NFL’s most exciting stars, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Tennessee Titans holdout running back Chris Johnson.
Fitzgerald faces an interesting dilemma in Arizona. Should he not reach an agreement on a contract extension with the Cardinals by season’s end, he will become a free agent.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there is a clause in Fitzgerald’s contract that prohibits the Cardinals from placing a franchise tag on him and as a result, retaining his rights.
Thus, without an extension, Fitzgerald will hit the free agent and likely command some rather sizable numbers.
Considering Arizona broke the bank for quarterback Kevin Kolb, losing his top receiver would be a terrible development for the Cards.
Meanwhile in Tennessee, Johnson’s situation is more immediate and dire. The electrifying fourth year back (and holdout) wants to be paid amongst the top players in the league.
Johnson, who made just over $2 million last season and is scheduled to make $800,000 in 2011, is reportedly seeking a salary that would honor of him as a playmaker.
Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson remains the highest paid runner in the league at $10.7 million per year.
To get this deal done, the Titans will likely have to pay north of $10 million annually and give up at least $21 million guaranteed, which is what Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams got in late-July.
Johnson will return to camp at some point but not a second before becoming the league’s highest paid back – and then some.