Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Larry Fitzgerald Resigns With Arizona - Somewhere, Matt Leinart Is Smiling

Amidst the flurry of trade rumors that had Larry Fitzgerald ending up in Philadelphia, the Arizona Cardinals reached a new agreement with the Pro Bowl WR today, locking him up for the next four years. The deal is worth 40 million dollars and includes a 15 million dollar signing bonus up front along with 30 million in guaranteed money. The structure of the new contract will save the Cardinals roughly 8.8 million in cap space.

Fantasy Impact

With Fitzgerald returning, the Cardinals keep one of the best young offenses in football intact. Fitzgerald had a monster 2007 season catching 100 passes for 1409 yards and 10 TDs and combines with Anquan Boldin to form one of the best WR combinations in all of football.

Fitzgerald is an excellent possession receiver and a dangerous vertical threat averaging 13.8 yards per reception over his 4 year career. He will be only 25 when the season starts and fantasy owners can expect plenty of big reception, yardage and touchdown numbers from Fitzgerald over the next four seasons.

Outside of Larry Fitzgerald, the happiest man in America right now is Arizona's starting QB Matt Leinart. The USC product had a very productive rookie season throwing to Boldin and Fitzgerald but failed to build on it in his sophomore campaign. He struggled mightily in 2007 throwing for o 647 yards, 2 TDs and 4 INTs in 5 games before a broken collarbone ended his season.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt has said that Leinart will be the team's starting QB in 2008 if he is healthy and there is no reason to expect that he won't be come the start of training camp. Leinart stock has fallen a good deal since his injury and he has a lot to prove this season. However, given the superb Arizona WR corps, the pass-friendly Arizona offense and the flashes of greatness he showed in college as well as his rookie season, there is reason to believe that Leinart could have a fine 2008 in the desert.

He should be a nice sleeper entering the season and should be drafted as a #2 QB with good upside. Keep in mind that if he falters during the season, savvy veteran Kurt Warner will be waiting in the wings to steal some snaps.

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