As important a consideration as any the next few months for the NFC West cellar-dwelling Cardinals is the contract status of star WR Larry Fitzgerald, whose current deal is set to expire at the end of the 2011 season.
“Negotiations are ongoing, and at this point, I have all reasons to be optimistic,” Cardinals GM Rod Graves told PFW at the recently concluded NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “That’s more my personality than anything else.
But Larry means a lot to our football team. I think that’s an understatement, but we’re going to work and try to do everything we can to try to consummate the deal and keep him as part of our history.”
As is the case with the majority of contract negotiations around the league at present, the expiration of the current CBA and subsequent uncertainty regarding the salary cap can’t help but complicate any dealings with Fitzgerald. By all accounts, the Cardinals figure to have a decent amount of money at their disposal. However, they also have their fair share of potential free agents they must take into account, most notably four 2010 starters on the offensive line (OGs Alan Faneca and Deuce Lutui, C Lyle Sendlein and OT Brandon Keith).
In addition, we continue to hear that it’s a very good bet Fitzgerald would prefer to bide his time on his contract until the Cardinals clarify their extremely murky QB situation. As it now stands, with Derek Anderson virtually assured of not being back after shooting mostly blanks under center, second-year pro John Skelton, who started four games late in the season, is considered by most close to the team to be the front-runner.
If that’s still the case entering training camp, the consensus is that the Cardinals could run into real problems re-upping with Fitzgerald, who like most onlookers in the desert, is hoping for a high-profile upgrade at quarterback via free agency or trade.