Larry Fitzgerald believes an extension of his contract is "not too far away," but there are hurdles to overcome before the Minnesota native stays with the Arizona Cardinals long-term. Plus, Joey Harrington had a great post-accident one-liner about his days in Detroit and many more notes.
How close is close?
Good question when it comes to a contract extension for Larry Fitzgerald
, a deal that could catapult the Arizona wide receiver into an even higher tax bracket.
The Cardinals' star, who contractually cannot be saddled with the franchise marker next spring, when he is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, told SI.com that he and the club are "not too far away" from a fresh extension. No reason to doubt Fitzgerald's take or excellent SI.com NFL writer Jim Trotter, who first reported the news of the progress.
There is some question, though, about exactly how imminent an extension might be.
Agent Eugene Parker told The Sports Xchange on Thursday evening that there are "definitely still some philosophical hurdles" that must be overcome for any new deal to be completed. Other than acknowledging that he and Cardinals' president Rod Graves have been "working hard" to cut a deal to extend Fitzgerald's current $10 million-a-year contract, Parker declined to get into specific details.
A source from the Fitzgerald camp, however, told The Sports Xchange: "I don't want to mislead you, because the numbers on this kind of contract can just fall together, and it's done. But there is a little ways to go yet. If Larry says it's close, or (intimates) that, maybe he knows something no one else does. So we'll see."
Both sides appear to be operating on the premise that something will get done before Sept. 4, when Fitzgerald has claimed negotiations will cease and he will turn his attention solely toward getting ready for the season, which opens Sept. 11.
The Cardinals almost certainly can't afford to lose Fitzgerald, who essentially has become the face of the franchise, and the wide receiver and his advisors seem to understand that.
Pittsburgh second-year tailback Jonathan Dwyer has averaged only 2.8 yards per carry in two preseason games. But the Steelers are happy with the way that Dwyer has reshaped his body and feel that the 2010 sixth-rounder, who played is only one game his rookie season, is running tougher inside. He said he's down about 20 pounds. Dwyer played in a triple-option offense at Georgia Tech and wasn't asked to run between the tackles often.
Good line by former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington, who was recently struck by an automobile while bicycling in Portland. "I was laying in the ER," Harrington said. "I'm in the neck brace on the board, and just saying, 'Get me out of here.' I kind of whispered to one of the trauma docs, 'I played four years in Detroit. I can handle (getting hit by) a car.'" The third overall pick in the 2002 draft, Harrington took quite a beating in his final two seasons with the Lions, getting sacked 60 times in 27 starts. In his first two years, though, Harrington remarkably was sacked only 17 times in 28 starts.
As of Thursday night, only 98 of the original 440 members of the unrestricted free agent class -- not counting players who were released -- were left unsigned. Also, as of Thursday evening, 23 former first-round picks had been cut.
On the subject of former first-rounders, it certainly looks as if the Class of 2007 will be one of the most miserable opening rounds in recent history. Seven of the first nine prospects chosen in the initial round in '07, and 10 of the top 22, have been either released or traded to this point. Of course, top overall choice JaMarcus Russell tops the unfortunate litany of first-round failures from that year.
With the release of linebacker/defensive end Aaron Maybin this week, eight of Buffalo's last 11 first-round picks are no longer with the team.
Indianapolis has now signed four former first-round free agents -- defensive ends Jamaal Anderson and Tyler Brayton, defensive tackle Tommie Harris, and linebacker Ernie Sims -- in an effort to create better defensive depth. Of course, the Colts, who prefer to build from within, also have nine of their own first-rounders on the roster.
The Browns, who it was noted above are converting to a 4-3 defense in 2011, are on the hunt for some linebacker depth.