Report Says Cardinals Can’t Franchise WR Fitzgerald in 2012

The Cardinals could be in a very tough spot with wide out Larry Fitzgerald if they can’t get back to being a force in the NFC in 2011. Steve Wyche of reports that Fitz cannot be franchised in 2012, meaning that he can hit the open market if the team doesn’t get him a new deal.

The likely thing for the wide out is to see where the team is at, play out his deal, and then decide if he wants to come back to team or hit the market and see what’s out there.

His contract expires after 2011 and he could opt not to sign with an eye on hitting free agency. He has a clause in his contract that won’t allow him to be franchised, so he is holding some leverage here. Fitzgerald could wait to see what Arizona does about its quarterback situation but if nothing major happens and it looks like the team will struggle again next season, he could play things out and then hit the open market.

Thing is, that’s a gamble. If he has a sub-par season, whether it’s his fault or not, his appeal might not be as high as it once was and he could sell himself short. Plus, all it takes is one injury to jeopardize his career and having some financial security is always a player’s main concern.

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