General manager Rod Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt met with the media at the combine today. Nothing earthshattering came out of it, but I will have a story in a bit on the homepage and there were a couple of other notes of interest.
— Talks are ongoing on a contract extension for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, with his contract set to expire after 2011. The Cards can sign him to an extension before the potential work stoppage, but when/if there is a work stoppage, that opportunity ends until a new CBA is reached (and right now, the league year is set to end 10 p.m. Arizona time March 3).
“Obviously the window is getting shorter in terms of being able to close something before the end of the (league) year,” Graves said. “We will see what happens over the next week or week-and-a-half. Again, the objective is to extend his deal. The only real time line on it is the expiration of his contract, so we will work until we feel we can get the deal done.”
That’s was the extent of Graves’ analysis. There are going to be two factors here: The amount of money Fitzgerald can get (and the Cardinals know he’s going to want a lot, and are going to be willing to pay), and then Fitzgerald’s willingness to sign such a deal given the state of the Cards and more importantly, the quarterback situation. The QB situation can’t be addressed before the end of the league year, so I’m not sure Fitzgerald’s situation will change before then.
(And, repeating facts already in evidence, Fitzgerald has a no-trade clause and cannot be given the franchise tag, factors that will impact Fitzgerald as he gets near the end of his deal).
— Meanwhile, Whisenhunt was asked to assess veteran linebacker Joey Porter, who remains in a precarious position for 2011 given his salary of more than $5 million and his struggles late in the season.
“I can honestly say it is hard to say anyone had a good year when we had the type of record last year,” Whisenhunt said. “Joey was in a situation that was tough for him, he was playing a tremendous amount of snaps and for a player his age that was tough and that was not our intent. Our intent was to rotate players in there and give him a break. The latter part of the season, he wore down.
“I give Joey a tremendous amount of credit because he fought every day to get through practice, to work hard and be a good example. But I think he’d tell you he wasn’t as productive, especially late in the season, as he had been in the past. But we could say that about a lot of guys. I expect to see Joey come in and compete and try to get back to the player he had been for us and we’ll see how that progresses.”
I assume the player who was supposed to be Porter’s rotation was Cody Brown, who underwhelmed so much in training camp he was cut before the season began. Whenever the offseason gets started, Porter’s situation — and how he (and his contract) fits on the defense — will be one of the more intriguing storylines.
Tags: Joey Porter, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Rod Graves
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