Getting voted to the Pro Bowl is reward enough. But some players were rewarded even more than others.
Fitzgerald initially was slated to make $1.1 million in base salary next season. But his playing-time and performance incentives increased next year's base salary by close to $10 million.
Other Pro Bowl selections also made out big Tuesday, though the exact results of their earnings will remain unknown until the off-season.
Pro Bowl selections such as Kansas City defensive end Jared Allen, Dallas running back Marion Barber, Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs, Pittsburgh guard Alan Faneca, Dallas safety Ken Hamlin, Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Hayneworth, New England cornerback Asante Samuel, Indianapolis safety Bob Sanders and Seattle cornerback Marcus Trufant each is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Allen and Haynesworth are expected to receive the franchise tag.
Barber is only a restricted free agent. Briggs and Samuels already have met incentives in their contract that prevent their teams from franchising them. Faneca is determined to depart Pittsburgh.
Indianapolis must decide whether to franchise Sanders or tight end Dallas Clark, which are not easy decisions. And Seattle could slap its franchise tag on Trufant.
The cornerback market has the chance to be the deepest, and richest, in this year's free-agent class. It includes two Pro Bowl selections, Samuel and Trufant, and a third that just as easily could have gone, Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha.
Any team looking to upgrade its cornerback position this off-season –- and virtually every team in the league is –- will have a bounty of riches to choose from. Problem is, it is not going to be cheap. Last off-season, San Francisco showered an $80 million contract that included $22 million worth of guaranteed money on free-agent cornerback Nate Clements.
Each of the three cornerbacks expected to hit this year's free-agent market could meet or exceed Clements' deal.
They just added value to their off-season deals.
In memory of...
Let the games begin
Over the next 10 days, NFL Network is the home of some pivotal matchups with plenty of postseason implications.
And a week from Saturday night, the Patriots play in New Jersey against the Giants in a game that has as much meaning to Miami as it does to New England. The game is expected to be the last obstacle between the Patriots and a perfect 16-0 regular season. Of course, the Giants might need the game to eke into the playoffs.