Either Larry Fitzgerald will agree to restructure his contract with the Arizona Cardinals, or he won’t.
If he doesn’t, then the future Hall of Famer’s 11-year run with the team will come to an end.
And that’s not really a thought general manager Steve Keim would like to entertain.
“It would be awfully tough for me to see Larry Fitzgerald wearing another uniform,” Keim told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday as part of Newsmakers Week.
Keim said he has opened up contract negotiations with Fitzgerald, whose contract, if unchanged, will see him count $23.6 million against the team’s salary cap in 2015.
“I don’t want to negotiate through the media,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for not only the player — tremendous amount of respect for Larry Fitzgerald — but have a great relationship with (Fitzgerald’s agent) Eugene Parker, who I’ve worked with on a number of players.
“The communication has been constant and hopefully we have a resolution that both parties are happy with.”
Fitzgerald, of course, is the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. An eight-time Pro Bowler, he is the face of the franchise.
Last season, he caught 63 passes for 784 yards and two touchdowns. Though the numbers are modest, he led the team in first downs and proved time and time again how important he was both as a blocker and leader on the field.
Keim said they would prefer to have a new agreement in place by March 10, when free agency begins, but that does not mean they will part ways if a deal isn’t worked out by then. He will chat with Parker more at the Scouting Combine next week, but noted how there has been a “constant dialogue” over the last year or so.
After all, it’s not like the idea that Fitzgerald’s contract was going to need to be restructured caught everyone by surprise.
“I think the biggest thing is, in any negotiation, you’ve got to find a balance where both parties feel like we have a good situation,” he said. “And again, we’re working tirelessly — that’s my number one objective right now, it’s our number one objective as an organization, and we’ve said it all along and it hasn’t changed.
“Larry Fitzgerald, we want him to retire a Cardinal.”