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Marvin Harrison Jr. signs lucrative rookie contract with Arizona Cardinals

IMG_7408by:Andy Backstrom05/23/24


COLUMBUS — Signing a rookie contract is almost always a formality, but it’s a milestone nonetheless. Marvin Harrison Jr., the highest-drafted wide receiver in Ohio State history, reached that milestone Thursday.

Harrison signed the league’s standard four-year rookie contract with a team option for a fifth year. But because the Arizona Cardinals picked Harrison No. 4 overall in this year’s draft, his contract comes with a meaty and fully-guaranteed $35.37 million, including a $22.5 million signing bonus, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“It’s my first job,” Harrison said, via “Ever since I got here I’ve been telling people I’m going to work — it’s not practice anymore.”

Harrison, the highest-drafted player in this year’s draft to sign his rookie contract so far, later added in that interview: “I like where I’m at going into the offseason and going into training camp [in July]. “Hopefully you see some good things in September.”

Last year, Harrison won the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the best receiver in college football, and became a Heisman Trophy finalist.

He was targeted 114 times in 2023, almost at least twice as many times as every other Buckeyes receiver, according to Pro Football Focus. The 6-foot-3 and rangy yet muscular Harrison accounted for close to a quarter of Ohio State’s total offense and more than a quarter of its touchdowns during the regular season. As a junior, he recorded 67 receptions for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns, not to mention his first career rushing touchdown.

The year before that, Harrison hauled in 72 passes for 1,157 yards and 12 scores.

Harrison is now part of a Cardinals organization that has made the playoffs only once in the last eight seasons. But Arizona built momentum down the stretch of last year, thanks to the return of quarterback Kyler Murray, who recovered from his 2022 ACL tear and ushered more optimism into the early stages of the Jonathan Gannon era in the desert.

Over the last month, much was made of Harrison not signing NFL Players Association’s group licensing agreement, which, notably, would allow his jersey to be sold and and his name, image and likeness to be used in the EA Sports “Madden” video game, among other things.

But NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that, with Harrison signing his rookie deal, Harrison is now part of the NFLPA’s group licensing agreement.

The said, Harrison is still wrapped in some drama.

He’s currently facing a lawsuit from apparel manufacturer Fanatics, which has alleged a breach of contract and estimates damage in “millions of dollars,” according to ESPN’s report of the suit.

While Fanatics maintains that Harrison failed to fulfill the obligations of the aforementioned contract, which the merchandising company said Harrison signed in 2023, Harrison’s camp has publicly denied that said contract exists.

Harrison’s off-the-field marketing situation continues to unfold.

His rookie contract, however, is taken care of, and the former Ohio State superstar is locked in on hitting the ground running with the Cardinals in 2024.

NOTE: This story was updated to include a report from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, regarding Harrison and the NFLPA’s group licensing agreement.

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