Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has signed a one-year contract extension through 2018.
If Larry Fitzgerald plays in 2018, it will be with the Cardinals.
In reality, that was always the case. But with Fitzgerald’s contract scheduled to expire after this season, there was still potential free agency – a possibility that is now gone after the veteran wide receiver signed a one-year contract extension Friday morning.
The signing does not guarantee Fitzgerald will play next season – he considered retirement last offseason, and will consider his options again after this season – but it gives certainty for the organization that the face of the franchise won’t wear another team’s uniform.
Fitzgerald was unavailable for comment, but coach Bruce Arians said "everyone is happy for him."
Arians, asked if Fitzgerald said he would for sure return in 2018, said "he just signed the deal. I just said 'Congrats' and that was about it."
Fitzgerald, who will turn 35 at the end of 2018 training camp, is having another Pro Bowl-type season at age 34. He is tied for the NFL lead with 60 receptions through nine games, for 677 yards and three touchdowns.
His salary would be $11 million, according to Arizona Sports 98.7. That is the same salary Fitz has played under in both the 2016 and 2017.
"He's been the face of this organization for so long," Arians said. "What he's done on the field and off the field, you'd hate to see those type of guys retire."
The 10-time Pro Bowler, who should receive his 11th nod this season, also has a chance to climb to second place in a couple of major NFL all-time receiving categories by playing another season.
Fitzgerald needs 141 catches to surpass former tight end Tony Gonzalez for second all-time in NFL history behind Jerry Rice, a mark he should easily attain if he plays next season. Fitzgerald also will be
third all-time in receiving yards by the end of the season – he needs only 227 more to pass Randy Moss – and another season would likely allow him to move into second place. Fitzgerald is 869 yards shy of Terrell Owens for second.
A return likely would make Fitzgerald, who just surpassed the 15,000-yard mark last week against the Seahawks, only the second player ever to surpass 16,000 receiving yards. Jerry Rice has 1,549 receptions and 22,895 yards to lead both all-time categories. At the moment, Fitzgerald is at 1,185 and 15,066.
Fitzgerald is also of course seeking a Super Bowl win. A significant amount of players are still scheduled to become free agents after the season. Quarterback Carson Palmer is also under contract through 2018, although like Fitzgerald, Palmer could also consider retirement.
"It was discouraging when someone said to me, 'You think Fitz is going to retire?' " running back Adrian Peterson said. "I was like, 'I hope not, with all the football he has left.' I would hate to see my friend go."
Coach Bruce Arians, meanwhile, is under contract through next season, with the Cardinals hold a team option for Arians for 2019.
Arians said his situation and Fitzgerald's "are totally different. They are separate entities."