INDIANAPOLIS -- The answer came in loud and clear: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be an Arizona Cardinal next year.
"No question, no question,â said Graves, when asked if Fitzgerald would be back. âHe's a core player, and like so many other players we're excited about with respect to our football team, we are going to do what we have to do to keep that core player.â
The question arose because Fitzgerald is going to count $16 million against the salary cap next season, a hefty sum, even for one of the leagueâs premier wideouts.
Graves acknowledged that he would like to renegotiate Fitzgerald's original six-year deal, but affirmed that the wide receiver would remain with the team regardless. Fitzgerald has two years remaining on his contract.
"He's earned the right to be where he is," Graves said, adding that he had no problem with the original deal Fitzgerald signed, which included several escalator clauses. âWe also determined that when we got to this point, that we would be back at the bargaining table to try to reach a long-term deal that would make it a little bit more palatable for us as an organization, and that's where we are. If we can't, then we'll move forward (with his current contract)."
Fitzgerald, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, caught 100 passes for 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2007.
Whisenhunt said Leinart started to throw "the other day" and the QB's shoulder is healed after he went on IR last season with a broken collarbone following Week 5.
Kurt Warner is expected to return in a backup role and Whisenhunt was appreciative of Warner's play while filling in for Leinart.
"As we go forward, Matt's our starter," Whisenhunt said. "Certainly we respect what Kurt has done, but Matt's our starter."