But unless Fitzgerald, who is in the final year of a deal he signed in March 2008, is comfortable with any new deal and with playing in Arizona, he would have the option of walking away from the Cardinals. That's because, as has been previously reported in the past year, Fitzgerald's current deal contains both a clause that does not allow the Cardinals to place the franchise tag on him and a clause that does not allow the Cardinals to trade him without his permission.
Fitzgerald would prefer to remain in Arizona, where he is said to enjoy playing for coach Ken Whisenhunt, a source familiar with the receiver's thinking told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. He is pleased with the Cardinals' aggressive approach in landing a new quarterback, Kevin Kolb. And despite his leverage, those close to Fitzgerald insist he wants to negotiate a fair deal, nothing more.
The Cardinals have said they're willing to break the bank to re-sign their star receiver.
"We want Larry to end his career as an Arizona Cardinal," general manager Rod Graves told The Associated Press earlier this month, "and we are prepared to make him the highest-paid player in team history and one of the highest-paid players in the NFL."
But if the two sides struggle to get it done this summer, Fitzgerald could be faced with the career-shaping decision of committing to Arizona or testing the free-agent market after this season, when he likely would be the most sought-after player the way cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was this past summer.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.