NFL.com: Cards want to know futures of Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer by mid-February
Jan 29, 2017, 2:49 PM | Updated: Jan 30, 2017, 12:08 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The Arizona Cardinals want receiver Larry Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer to decide upon whether they will retire or play in 2017 by mid-February in order for the team to attack free agency knowing how much money can be spent, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
Rapoport adds that the team has remained in communication with both veterans. Neither has made a final call on their futures.
There is no hard-and-fast deadline, but the team wants to know by the middle of February to collaborate on plans entering free agency, considering the monetary impact would be significant. Key team people think both will come back, but that might be based on hope. The reality is, few know. There have been no guarantees.
The NFL’s free agency negotiation begins on March 7 and the signing period begins two days later. Before that, from Feb. 15 to March 1, teams can designate franchise players.
Fitzgerald has maintained he would take until at least the beginning of February to make a call on his future. On Jan. 16, he reiterated that he needed a “few more weeks” to determine if he’ll return for a 14th NFL season.
Palmer has not given his official word he’ll return in 2017, either, though he has spoken less of the retirement possibility than Fitzgerald.
Unsurprisingly, Rapoport reports Fitzgerald’s and Palmer’s futures are intertwined.
In fact, a source informed of Fitz’s thinking said that if Palmer walks away, it might be harder for Fitzgerald to return unless he knows who will replace Palmer.
In December, Arians supported that idea. He thought the chance Arizona appears ready to chase a Super Bowl would help woo Fitzgerald back. The twist is that the team wants an answer from Fitzgerald before free agency clears up.
As for Palmer, sources told Rapoport that 2016 was “the most physically trying season” of the quarterback’s career.
Another factor in Palmer’s decision is that Cardinals quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens is now a running backs coach and the new QBs coach — Byron Leftwich — is someone Palmer hasn’t worked with, according to someone who knows Palmer well.
Rapoport also reported that both players have kept their thinking close to the vest as they’ve rested their bodies and minds following a disappointing 2016 season for the Cardinals.