The timing isn't great, but Arizona Cardinals receiver and legend Larry Fitzgerald reportedly is not expecting to return to the team after the 2014 season, making this Saturday's playoff game against the Carolina Panthers perhaps the final game he plays with the franchise.
A Fox Sports Arizona report by Craig Morgan cites a source familiar with the situation in saying Fitz doesn't expect to be back in 2015. He is "reportedly unhappy with his role in the offense and unwilling to renegotiate his contract for a second time in two years."
There is an issue of money to begin with. His salary cap hit is going to be over $23 million in 2015.
There is an issue of production. In 2014, he had only 63 catches for 784 yards and two scores. It was the lowest totals for catches and yards since his rookie season and it was the least amount of touchdowns he has ever had.
The team has been firm in saying they want him to retire a Cardinal and general manager Steve Keim has said his cap number is "baked into our numbers" for next season. A Pro Football Talk reports states the Cardinals will not release Fitzgerald.
That would mean a trade with a contract renegotiation.
In the Morgan report, Fitz said on Thursday his future with the team "hasn't crossed my mind," as a postseason win is his current goal.
AZCentral reporter Kent Somers has said he thinks there is about a 35 percent chance Fitzgerald returns. If he is unwilling to take a pay cut, it will make things very difficult for Arizona to do things competitively, which is a big deal for him. He wants to win.
We have seen stars and icons from their original team end up having to finish their careers elsewhere. Jerry Rice didn't retire with the 49ers. Neither did Joe Montana. Brett Favre didn't. Is Fitz the next on the list?