Fitzgerald signs with Cardinals; Rivers, Winslow may be harder

Posted: Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Larry Fitzgerald is the latest rookie to get a huge contract, signing a deal with Arizona on Monday that appears to give the third pick in the draft as much money as either of the first two choices.

Fitzgerald, the wide receiver from Pitt, received $20 million in guaranteed money from the Cardinals, the same as quarterback Eli Manning, No. 1 overall, got from the New York Giants, and $1.5 million more than Oakland gave offensive tackle Robert Gallery.

Fitzgerald's signing means only seven of the 32 first-round choices were unsigned as camps moved into full swing Monday.

The most difficult negotiations are likely to be with quarterback Philip Rivers (No. 4), tight end Kellen Winslow (No. 6) and perhaps quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (No. 11).

Rivers was chosen by the Giants, then traded to the Chargers, and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, is believed to be seeking first-choice money from San Diego.

Winslow was taken by Cleveland, which last week announ-ced it was willing to give him the same money that safety Sean Taylor, No. 5 overall, got from Washington. That was rejected by Winslow's agent, Kevin Poston, who is considered by most teams a tough negotiator. Roethlisberger is seeking a $9 million bonus from Pittsburgh, which would be more than the 10th pick, cornerback Dunta Robinson, got from Houston. His agent is Leigh Steinberg, who normally gets his clients into camp on time, but has traditionally argued that quarterbacks are worth a premium.

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