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As usual, devil will be in details of Fitzgerald deal

Larry Fitzgerald

In this photo taken Aug. 11, 2011, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) smiles in the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif. The Cardinals and Fitzgerald have agreed to an eight-year deal that could pay the star receiver as much as $120 million, making it one of the richest deals in the NFL. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


The basic numbers were eye-popping. Eight years, $120 million with $50 million guaranteed for a receiver who’ll turn 28 in 10 days. That’s an average of $15 million per year, a huge jump over Larry Fitzgerald’s previous high-water mark of $10 million annually, which he set three years ago -- and which others have claimed to have duplicated but only have imitated.

And so like those other deals that originally were breathlessly reported as being worth $10 million per year but ultimately weren’t (e.g., Brandon Marshall), we’ll believe that the Cardinals are paying Fitzgerald a firm $15 million per year once we’ve had a chance to digest the details of the deal.

Maybe they are. They’ve already broken the bank once for the one of the top receivers in the game. But if the bar for wideouts suddenly has been bumped up by 50 percent, what will other receivers want to be paid?

With guys like DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, and Calvin Johnson closing in on their veteran contracts and with guys like Reggie Wayne and perhaps Andre Johnson (after he sees the Fitz deal) wanting new ones, things could get very interesting, very soon.