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Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals begin talks on future

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Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals are trying to make it work.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday's edition of NFL Total Access that Fitzgerald's agent and the Cardinals have started talks with the hope they can work out an agreement that will allow the star wide receiver to finish his career in Arizona.

"It would be awfully tough for me to see Larry Fitzgerald wearing another uniform," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said Friday on KMVP-FM. "I don't want to negotiate through the media. I have a lot of respect for not only the player -- tremendous amount of respect for Larry Fitzgerald -- but have a great relationship with (Fitzgerald's agent) Eugene Parker, who I've worked with on a number of players."

Fitzgerald is due $16 million in salary next season, a high figure, but not at the heart of the matter. The Cardinals are looking for relief on the cap hit tied to Fitzgerald's contract, a massive $23 million allotment that will severely limit what they can do in free agency.

The Cardinals would gain $9.2 million in salary cap space if they were to release Fitzgerald, though the team doesn't plan to go down that road. A trade is a better possibility -- Arizona would gain $16 million in cap space by moving their all-time leading receiver to another team.

"The communication has been constant and hopefully we have a resolution that both parties are happy with," Keim added. "I think the biggest thing is, in any negotiation, you've got to find a balance where both parties feel like we have a good situation. And again, we're working tirelessly -- that's my number one objective right now, it's our number one objective as an organization, and we've said it all along and it hasn't changed. Larry Fitzgerald, we want him to retire a Cardinal."

Fitzgerald, 31, restructured his deal to appease the Cardinals last year. A straight pay cut might be necessary to keep the sides in business this time around, and the question is how much money Fitzgerald would be willing to give up. March 14 is the day to watch: Fitzgerald is due an $8 million roster bonus at that time.

If Fitzgerald and the Cardinals do indeed part ways after 11 seasons, he becomes one of the most intriguing names in an impressive crop of available wide receivers.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Malcolm Butler to the show and plays a free agency edition of "Who Do You Trust?" Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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