Cards want Fitzgerald deal before season

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The fans chanting Larry Fitzgerald's name as he approached on a Segway following practice Wednesday are not alone in their love for the Arizona Cardinals' receiver.

Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald

#11 WR
Arizona Cardinals

2010 STATS

  • Rec90
  • Yds1137
  • TD6
  • Avg12.6
  • Long41
  • YAC187

Team management might as well join in the chanting. President Michael Bidwill and general manager Rod Graves are not quite begging the Pro Bowl receiver to extend his contract beyond the 2011 season, but they're openly hoping. The ground beneath their feet appears more solid after Arizona moved aggressively in free agency and the trade market.

"I'm excited with the signings," Fitzgerald said Wednesday. "That is a step in the right direction. It's more active than we've been in the free-agent market during the eight years I've been here. That is really exciting, especially as bad as our division is. Any help is going to pay off big for us."

I thought the Cardinals would have won the division last season with even average play at quarterback. Their inability to compete for an NFC West title despite an easy finishing schedule precipitated recent moves to add quarterback Kevin Kolb, tight end Todd Heap, linebacker Stewart Bradley, guard Daryn Colledge and others. The team made those moves knowing Fitzgerald was watching to see whether or not the organization would create a situation he could embrace for the long term.

Fitzgerald holds the leverage. His contract features clauses preventing the team from trading him or naming him its franchise player. Arizona could not stop Fitzgerald from testing free agency if the receiver chose to go that route. But team president Michael Bidwill said he thinks the sides can reach agreement before the regular season.

"I’m optimistic," team president Michael Bidwill told reporters Tuesday. "I think Larry wants to get it done. We want to get it done. We’ve got the cap space. We’re looking forward to working with him."

Getting a deal with Fitzgerald before the season is the hope.

"I think you can get contracts done very quickly when two people are motivated," Bidwill said. "I think we’ve got a lot of motivation. I know Larry wants to get it done, too."