Arizona Cardinals fans know the value of wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. You can tell because of the fans' reaction to Fitzgerald becoming the highest paid non-quarterback in the league. Hardly anyone even batted an eye. Fans were just glad to see the franchise take care of the best player the franchise has ever had.
The thing is that with Fitzgerald's track record on the field and off, there is little argument anywhere about his value, other than saying no receiver should be paid that much.
Enter Steelers WR Mike Wallace. Reportedly he wants more money than the eight-year, $120 million deal that Fitzgerald got.
Now, salaries always go up and the old huge contracts eventually become average or just above average. However, while Wallace is a very, very good player and even a game changer, the notion that he is worth more than Fitzgerald now is absurd.
SB Nation's Ryan Bibber does a fantastic job of breaking down and comparing Wallace and Fitz. Read it, it makes the point we already know.
NFL Free Agency 2012: Is Mike Wallace Worth More Than Larry Fitzgerald? - SBNation.com
The gut reaction was the right one. Wallace has yet to earn that kind of pay day, and he might not ever earn that kind of money unless Dan Synder has a chance to sign him in free agency. Fitzgerald is a rare player, one receiver that can do it all, a quarterback's best friend. Wallace, a restricted free agent, received a first-round tender from the Steelers. The salary demand story came up as a result of teams sniffing around to see about making an offer to Wallace and forcing the Steelers to let him walk based on their tight salary cap situation. Demands of a Fitzgerald-like contract should be more than enough to scare away potential suitors who would have to break the bank and surrender a first-round pick to the Steelers.
In the end, the answer is obvious. The gut feeling you have that makes you want to laugh out loud just thinking about the question turns out to be correct.
But you already knew that.
You can talk more Cardinals over at Revenge of the Birds.