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Cardinals GM: Larry Fitzgerald to Patriots just a rumor

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rumors of a Larry Fitzgerald trade to the New England Patriots died down once the wide receiver restructured his contract early this month.

To hear Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim tell it, the Patriots' interest never went beyond the speculation stage.

Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, Keim set the record straight: He's never received a phone call from the Patriots about the wide receiver.

It will be interesting to see if that changes next offseason when Fitzgerald carries a salary-cap charge of $23.6 million.

Here's what else we learned from Keim on Thursday:

» The Cardinals believe Carson Palmer is good enough that they don't have to force a draft pick on a quarterback. If Palmer receives adequate pass protection, Keim believes his ball placement and touch are as good as any passer in the league.

» With Rashard Mendenhall due to hit the open market, Keim talked up 2013 fifth-round draft pick Stepfan Taylor as a complement to scatback Andre Ellington. Keim reiterated his preference for a tandem attack because Ellington isn't built to handle a heavy workload.

» Indicating the Cardinals are "two to three players away" on both sides of the ball from challenging the Seahawks and 49ers for NFC West supremacy, Keim emphasized the need for "longer, athletic guys" on defense to cover tight ends and keep up with Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.

On the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys speculate on big names who could be cut, then talk offseason forecasts for the Packers and Raiders.

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