Posted Aug. 20, 2011 @ 10:15 p.m. ET
Updated Aug. 20, 2011 @ 11:30 p.m. ET
The Cardinals have ensured that their top offensive weapon will remain in Arizona for the foreseeable future.
On Saturday the team signed WR Larry Fitzgerald to a new eight-year, $120 million contract that will pay him nearly $50 million in guaranteed money, according to multiple reports.
According to ESPN.com, Fitzgerald's average annual compensation of $15 million makes him the highest-paid receiver and ties him with Raiders DL Richard Seymour for the fifth-highest-paid player in the league, and the best-compensated among non-quarterbacks.
"This is a day that I think all of us have been looking forward to," Cardinals president Michael Bidwell said at a hastily called news conference Saturday night. "Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the most dynamic, if not the most dynamic, football player in Cardinals' history and one of the most dynamic in the NFL. It’s been an honor that he's been playing for us since we drafted him in the first round, and he's been such a big part of our success."
Fitzgerald, 27, who had been entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal, is now under contract through 2018. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in five of his seven NFL seasons.
After showing great productivity when Kurt Warner was quarterbacking the Cardinals, Fitzgerald saw his numbers decline last season — only six TD catches, tied for a personal career low — because of the team's revolving door at quarterback. However, Arizona's offseason acquisition of former Eagles QB Kevin Kolb has given Fitzgerald renewed hope for a resurgence by the offense.
"I just want to thank the Bidwell family for how they've taken me in over the years," Fitzgerald said Saturday at the news conference. "I feel like I'm one of the family. I know Michael has worked so hard to get this deal done, and we've had positive dialogue for quite a while. I know he's worked tirelessly to make this happen."