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How Free Agency Fitz Cards


 The Cardinals and receiver Larry Fitzgerald continue to talk about a new contract, but no deal has been reached yet.

Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals had not reached any contract agreement as of Thursday night, just a few hours before the NFL's free-agent period began.

But while the apparent stalemate would make for a more complicated offseason, it did not mean a doomsday scenario for the Cards' plans.

"We are still planning on being active in free agency," general manager Rod Graves said. "But at some point, we will have to make adjustments (to the roster) for any signings we do."

"Adjustments" means likely cutting current players, or possibly asking players to restructure contracts.

But that would change if and when Fitzgerald receives a new contract.

Still, the Cardinals are prepared to maneuver through the free-agent waters carrying Fitzgerald's lofty $16.5 million salary cap number.

Graves said the team and Fitzgerald continue to talk, although he declined to talk specifics of the current negotiations.

The Cardinals still want to retain linebacker Calvin Pace, although Pace hit the open market Thursday night and is expected to command a significantly larger deal than the Cardinals would be able to fit under the cap – and possibly more than they intended to offer.

Wide receiver Bryant Johnson is in a similar situation.

"With Calvin, along with other free agents, it is all tied to having the available (salary cap) room to work those deals," Graves said. "At this point, we have not been able to get the necessary room needed to do those contracts."

Pace has said repeatedly he would like to return to Arizona.

On the free-agent situation of both Pace and Johnson, Graves added that "given the interest they may have (from other teams), we may not be in a position to act quickly enough to get a deal in place."

The Cards do not plan on bringing in any free-agent visitors through the weekend, but they do intend to bring some in by next week.

Graves expressed confidence the Cards could find important new pieces without jumping into the free-agent fray right away. Last offseason, free agency began on March 1, but the Cards signed cornerback Rod Hood (March 11), fullback Terrelle Smith (March 23) and tackle Mike Gandy (April 2) well after. All three started in 2007.

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 2/28/08.

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