Cue the Ryan Mallett-to-the-Arizona Cardinals speculation.
Mallett told the media in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday that he worked out with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in Minnesota this offseason. Mallett is a free agent after the 2014 season, and the New England Patriots reserve quarterback has stepped up his game as he enters an important contract year.
Mallett will have a chance to audition for NFL teams Thursday night when the Patriots face the Washington Redskins in their preseason opener. Starting QB Tom Brady likely will play the first quarter, and Mallett and rookie Jimmy Garoppolo will handle the rest of the game.
Mallett, now in his fourth NFL season after the Patriots selected him in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft, hasn’t minded sitting behind Brady for all these years.
“I live day to day, man. I’m happy where I’m at right now,” Mallett told reporters Wednesday after the Patriots-Redskins joint practice. “I’m having a blast. I’m on a great team, I have a great organization around me. My teammates are awesome. That doesn’t cross my mind. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team every day.
“You can’t control what you can’t control. It’s the uncontrollable. You have to deal with it. … I was dealt the hand I was dealt, so I’m playing cards.”
There’s still a possibility that the Patriots could trade Mallett after an impressive offseason, but they would have to feel comfortable with Garoppolo as Brady’s No. 2. Garoppolo has struggled in his first NFL training camp.