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Talks Ongoing With Key Cards


The Cardinals are continuing contract talks with a pair of their impending free-agent linebackers, Karlos Dansby (58) and Calvin Pace (97).

Saying he has already had "fruitful conversations and dialogue" with the agents of key free agents Karlos Dansby and Calvin Pace along with the agent of Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals general manager Rod Graves said he plans to meet with all three parties at the Senior Bowl next week in Mobile, Ala.

Dansby and Pace are scheduled to have their contracts expire at the beginning of March. Fitzgerald needs to have his contract restructured thanks to a salary near $15 million in 2008.

Graves declined to get into specifics about negotiations, but none of the deals are imminent.

"The key thing is that it is a process," Graves said. "That is typically what negotiations are all about.

"If you are racing to get deals done, you can make mistakes."

Free agency officially begins at 10 p.m. Arizona time Feb. 28. Teams must decide if they will use the franchise or transition tag by Feb. 22, which will be in the middle of the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Dansby remains a prime candidate for the team's franchise tag, which the Cardinals have not used since placing it on safety Kwamie Lassiter in February of 2002. The salary for a linebacker tagged this year is expected to be around $8 million for a one-year deal. Long-term negotiations would continue even if Dansby is tagged.

This close to free agency, Pace may rather see what he can do on the open market, although the linebacker has said repeatedly he would prefer to remain in Arizona.

Graves has also been encouraged with the Fitzgerald talks and has had a good relationship with Fitzgerald's agent, Eugene Parker. A new Fitzgerald deal is important to organizing the Cardinals' salary cap. Not only does Fitzgerald's salary skyrocket next year but he is also scheduled to have a 2009 salary of more than $17 million, according to the NFL Players Association website.

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 1/18/08.

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