The Arizona Cardinals are officially on the clock to re-sign Larry Fitzgerald

Aug 18, 2011, 3:45 PM | Updated: 4:53 pm

For the last six months there have been two storylines that have dominated when it comes to the Arizona Cardinals. Will they find a franchise quarterback and can they sign Larry Fitzgerald to a contract extension? It seems like they’ve answered the first — at least in some people’s minds — and a resolution to the second may be right around the corner.

Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter was at Cards camp in Flagstaff earlier this week and he found out some very interesting information as it pertains to the team’s Pro Bowl receiver.

His contract expires at the end of the season, but the sides are discussing a new deal that would keep him around for at least another six years. Fitzgerald, who has a “no franchise” clause in his current deal, has put a self-imposed deadline of Sept. 4 — the final day of the preseason — for getting something done. After that, he says he won’t discuss an extension until after the season.

While we all knew about the lack of a franchise tag — and not because Adam Schefter reported it on Monday — the self-imposed deadline of the Sunday before the regular season starts and a six-year deal are something new. It may seem like a daunting task for Rod Graves and the club’s front office to get a deal done in the next three weeks while preparing for the season opener but it sounds like both sides are making progress according to Trotter.

Fitzgerald told him the two sides are “not too far away” on reaching an agreement.

While that sounds good and Fitz has given every indication he wants to stay in the Valley, the clock is now officially ticking. If the Cardinals don’t want to see the face of their franchise hit the open market and possibly fly the coop, they have just three weeks to make him an offer he can’t refuse. If not, they’ll have a whole new round of questions and storylines to deal with. All of which will likely be a distraction to a team trying to bounce back from a horrible season.

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