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Roster-Move Roundup: Fitzgerald Scores Monster Deal
The free-agent signing period rolls -- or maybe creeps -- on. ... Tuesday's return to a slower pace -- at least in terms of higher-profile player movement -- looks like it will be the norm in coming days as the pool of available talent continues to dwindle.

But -- at least for today -- a major restructuring kept the Roster-Move Roundup from taking the night off.

So, we'll get the ball rolling in Arizona, were Larry Fitzgerald agreed to terms on a contract restructuring that is worth $40 million over four years.

According to Arizona Republic staffer Kent Somers, the deal includes a $15 million bonus this year and a $5 million option bonus in 2009. According to editor Mike Florio, the deal also supposedly contains a clause that permits Fitzgerald to block any trade without his consent.

(The Eagles reportedly inquired about the possibility of trading for Fitzgerald in recent weeks.)

Fitzgerald announced the deal on his Web site --, saying he will make $33 million over the first three years of the contract.

"I'm very happy with this, my intent was to stay with the Cardinals," Fitzgerald said in a statement on his web site. "I'm grateful that we were able to get this done."

Over the final two years of his old deal, Fitzgerald was scheduled to make $14,592,500 in 2008 and $17,355,000 in 2009. As insider John Clayton noted, that put the team in a tight cap bind -- with less than $400,000 of cap room remaining -- so signing players was tough until they struck a deal with Fitzgerald. They had only 48 players on their roster and only 16 players on defense.

The team was trying to find a way to convince Fitzgerald to sign a six-year deal. In the end, Fitzgerald got his way and signed a four-year deal.

According to Clayton, Fitzgerald received the $15 million signing bonus today. His base salary will be $2 million, giving him a $17 million payout this year. He has a $5 million option bonus in 2009. Over the four years of his contract, he will receive $30 million in guarantees.

The new deal will save the team $8.842 million in cap room, dropping his salary cap number from $16,485,000 to $7,643,334.

Fitzgerald caught 100 passes for 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Cardinals last season. In 60 career games over four year seasons, all in Arizona, he has 330 receptions for 4,544 yards -- a 13.8 yards per catch average -- and 34 touchdowns.

He and Anquan Boldin have developed into one of the league's top receiving tandems. Boldin also has made the Pro Bowl twice and Pro Football Weekly reports that team insiders expect him to deservedly push hard for a new deal.

It's safe to assume Boldin was watching Fitzgerald's negotiations very closely; it's also safe to assume he'll be looking for similar money. ...

In Kansas City. ... Former Baltimore wide receiver Devard Darling agreed to terms of a three-year contract with the Chiefs today.

Darling, who will be 26 next month, played four seasons with the Ravens, mostly as a reserve. He caught a total of 20 passes. Eighteen of those catches came last season, when he also scored three touchdowns.

Darling, who played in college at Washington State, was a third-round pick by the Ravens in 2004.

As Kansas City Star staffer Adam Teicher suggested today, Darling should compete for playing time.

Dwayne Bowe is the Chiefs' only established wide receiver and Jeff Webb their only other serious roster candidate at the position following last month's release of veteran starter Eddie Kennison. Samie Parker is a free agent and the team appears to be ready to let him move on. ...

In Atlanta. ... The Falcons on Tuesday re-signed Joey Harrington, who was released by the team last week.

According to NFL Network insider Adam Schefter, the new deal is a one-year contract worth $1 million; Atlanta Journal-Constitution staffer Steve Wyche, however, reports it's a two-year deal.

Whatever the case, Wyche notes that Harrington's makes the Falcons' quarterback situation look much like it did heading into training camp last summer after the NFL suspended starter Michael Vick.

The only difference could be the pecking order. Chris Redman, a minimum-salaried free agent who wasn't expected to make the final roster last season after being out of football for more than a year, could have the early track at the starting job.

Redman finished the 2007 season with momentum and the confidence of his teammates, playing well over the final four games, and was rewarded Feb. 29 with a two-year, $4 million contract.

Harrington, who started the first six games last season -- 10 overall -- and D.J. Shockley could be competing for the main backup job. Byron Leftwich, who was added during the season and started two games, has been released.

New head coach Mike Smith hasn't set a depth chart yet heading into a pre-draft veteran mini-camp in mid-April, so the job could be up for grabs. The only thing Smith has said is that he hopes to have stiff competition at all positions.

Wyche further noted the Falcons also are expected to select a quarterback during the April 26-27 draft. ...

In Miami. ... The Dolphins continued their work to improve the special teams, signing place-kicker Dave Rayner to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

Rayner was signed by San Diego at the end of the season to serve as a kickoff specialist when starter Nate Kaeding injured his foot making a tackle on kickoff coverage. Rayner has also played for the Packers and Chiefs.

He's 41-of-58 on field goal attempts, converting 14-of-24 attempts longer than 40 yards. He's also converted 45-of-46 extra point attempts. ...

As South Florida Sun-Sentinel staffer Omar Kelly noted, Rayner is well respected for his kickoffs, which happens to be Jay Feely's weakness.

Last season, Feely averaged a career-low 57.8 yards on kickoffs -- but had a career year on field goals, converting 21 of 23 field goals.

That's it for this installment. ... Once again, I'll remind those interested in following along more closely to keep an eye on the News & Views and ESPN News Feed sections of the site.

And as always, those looking for something a little more in-depth should keep an eye out here, in the Headline News section.