NFC Notes: Fitzgerald, Austin, Koetter, Fangio

Despite general manager Steve Keim’s confirmation that the Cardinals won’t release Larry Fitzgerald during the offseason, the veteran receiver still doesn’t expect to return to Arizona next season, a source told Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. Fitzgerald, who is set to count $23.6MM against the Cards’ 2015 cap, is said to be unhappy with his role in Arizona’s offense, per Garafolo. He’s due an $8MM roster bonus in March, meaning a final decision will have to made on his future before then. Here’s more from the NFC.

  • Confirming earlier reports, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told reporters both the Falcons and the 49ers have requested permission to interview him (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of In Austin’s first season as Detroit’s DC, the club finished second it total defense and third in defensive DVOA. Lions head coach Jim Caldwell thinks Austin’s performance has warranted a promotion. “I think he’s deserving of it, and I think he’s going to get one,” said Caldwell, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I think if, once they get an opportunity to see him and listen to him and watch what he’s been able to do, I think it’ll happen for him and I think it’ll be absolutely outstanding.”
  • Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will interview with the Buccaneers about the same position in Tampa Bay, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. It’s unclear if Koetter, 55, is still under contract with Atlanta, but the club is probably allowing him to seek other employment following head coach Mike Smith’s firing. Per Marvez, Koetter could also act as an OC under Jim Tomsula or Dan Quinn if either of the two secures a head coaching job.
  • If 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio becomes a head coach, he’s expected to make Niners secondary coach Ed Donatell his DC, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Donatell was granted permission to talk with Washington about their coordinator vacancy, while Fangio, who’s a contender for the 49ers HC job, wasn’t (yet).
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