He still doesn’t have a definitive answer from either player, but Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians expects both quarterback Carson Palmer and receiver Larry Fitzgerald to forego retirement and return for the 2017 season.
“Neither one has come to a decision. It’s up to them,” Arians said, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. “I feel comfortable with where they’re at and what’s going to happen. Like everybody else, got my fingers crossed. I think when the juices start flowing and the injuries go away, they’ll both be back. But there’s nothing to confirm yet.”
Arians also said he’d like to have a decision from both players by early March, when free agency begins. The team will need to alter its offseason plans if both Palmer and Fitzgerald hang up the cleats.
No one would blame Palmer, 37, for retiring. He was sacked 40 times and hit numerous others during a painful 2016 season, his 14th in the NFL. The final hurdle for him returning in 2017 will likely come down to how his body responds to the punishment.
Fitzgerald will turn 34 next August, but he would be expected to play another season if Palmer returns for 2017. The veteran receiver caught 107 passes for 1,023 yards and six touchdowns in 2016.
The two players have spearheaded the Cardinals’ revival in recent years. Palmer has thrown 96 touchdowns since arriving in Arizona in 2013, while Fitzgerald has produced back-to-back seasons with at least 100 catches. The Cardinals would be considered contenders in 2017 if both players return.