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Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer Get Extensions

Posted Aug 5, 2016

Cardinals make sure Pro Bowl wide receiver will be around for 2017

Quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, both of whom signed extensions Friday, discuss a play during Friday's practice.

Larry Fitzgerald is unlikely to retire now.

The Pro Bowl wide receiver is going to stay with the Cardinals beyond 2016, and Carson Palmer is going to remain his quarterback.

On the heels of the contract extension for safety Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals dropped an unexpected bombshell Friday by simultaneously extending the contracts of their best receiver and their quarterback.

Both players are extended by one year. With Fitzgerald’s situation settled -- he could still retire after the season, although it doesn't make much sense after signing the new contract -- it takes one more potential free agent off the Cards’ list at the end of the season.

“Clearly these are two core members of our team who have played major roles in our success,” GM Steve Keim said in a statement. “Each of them had contracts that were due to expire in the next year or two so these extensions provide a measure of certainty and clarity for the players and organization, both now and in the years ahead. It also reaffirms our long-stated intention that when the time comes, these two great players end their stellar careers as Cardinals.”

Neither Fitzgerald nor Palmer were available for comment.

While Fitzgerald had been scheduled to be a free agent after the 2016 season, Palmer had been scheduled to reach free agency after 2017. Given both of their ages – Fitzgerald turns 33 later this month, Palmer turns 37 in December – retirement has been suggested, especially if the Cardinals are able to win the Super Bowl. But Palmer said last week he’d be more inclined to return to win a second title.

Fitzgerald, meanwhile, has mostly played coy when it comes to talking about his future. Asked about it Sunday, Fitzgerald said he couldn’t plan for the end of the season when he didn’t even know what he’d be having for dinner that night.

“I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t think about (retirement), just preparing for the next phase of my life,” Fitzgerald told the NFL Network last month. “But I have a lot of good football left in me. But I feel great. I can still play at a high level so I just take it one year at a time.”

Both players are coming off one of best years of their career. Fitzgerald set a career high with 109 catches, for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns. Palmer had 35 touchdown passes against only 11 interceptions, and set a team record with 4,671 yards passing.

Palmer wasn’t going anywhere, but the ability of General Manager Steve Keim to get both Mathieu and Fitzgerald extended in a matter of days clears two major hurdles from an impending free agent list that was daunting.

“You can’t win without a quarterback in this league and Carson’s been working hard and he’s found the fountain of youth,” defensive tackle Calais Campbell said.

“And Fitz, he’s pretty much my idol since day one. He let me in on the secret a couple days ago. He’s just a great guy, very deserving. He’s the ultimate role model.”

Fitzgerald, whose agent Eugene Parker passed away suddenly this year, negotiated his own contract.

“If you’re part of this organization and you’re on the inside, you see how great it is,” Palmer said earlier this week. “More importantly, you’ve been elsewhere, and you see how it is. You understand how special this place is from the top down. I think everybody in this locker room gets why they’re here.”

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