New wide receiver possibilities for the Arizona Cardinals
By Jim Koch
Now that Larry Fitzgerald’s career is winding down, it may behoove the Arizona Cardinals to seek reinforcements at wide receiver
What a difference two years have made for the Arizona Cardinals. Back in 2016, the wide receiver position was one area of the team that management didn’t need to worry about. General manager Steve Keim had put together a fine group, one that was ranked among the NFL’s best.
Things have changed a bit inside of the Cardinals’ wideout room. One constant has been the outstanding Larry Fitzgerald. Father time has not had his way with the 34-year old, who’s registered at least 107 receptions in three consecutive campaigns.
Other members of that receiving group from ’16 have not fared as well. Their 2012 first-round draft pick, Michael Floyd, was sent packing after a DUI arrest. John Brown had a 1000-yard season in 2015, but injuries and a mysterious sickle-cell condition have stunted his progress.
J.J. Nelson flashed a boatload of potential in 2016, but inconsistent hands plagued him last year. Jaron Brown put up decent numbers in ’17, but doesn’t appear to be anything special. The Cards’ third-round pick last season, Chad Williams, contributed just three catches for 31 yards as a rookie.
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It’s fairly obvious that Arizona could use some pass-catching reinforcements. There’s quite a bit of talent available in this offseason’s free agent pool. Players that could provide an immediate lift to the Cardinals’ passing game.
Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson are the cream of the crop. If the franchise is seeking to find a successor for Fitzgerald, either 24-year old could fit that bill. Other candidates, possibly of the less-expensive variety, include Terrelle Pryor, Paul Richardson, Donte Moncrief, Marqise Lee and Albert Wilson.
Keim could also look to April’s draft as a remedy for the problem. Alabama’s Calvin Ridley is the top prospect, and should be selected in the first round. Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk, SMU’s Courtland Sutton and Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown are also early-round possibilities.
Both Browns (John and Jaron) are unrestricted free agents, and it would not be surprising if neither is back with the Cardinals this season. Losing the pair would obviously create employment opportunity in the desert. It’s almost a certainty that there will be some new pass-catchers on the field for Arizona in 2018.