After 17 unforgettable years, it is time for the Arizona Cardinals to part ways with the future Hall of Famer, Larry Fitzgerald. Doing so would benefit both parties, as the Cardinals look to bounce back from another disappointing year, once again missing the playoffs.
Over the last few seasons, the immediate question has remained the same: Is Larry Fitzgerald going to retire? It’s become an annual tradition, right above “who is playing opposite Patrick Peterson?”
The mere suggestion that he not return could be considered blasphemous among the Cardinal faithful, as Fitzgerald has been the face of the franchise for almost two decades. But it is time for the organization to move on if they wish to surround their new franchise player, Kyler Murray, with weapons to be successful.
There is no question that Fitzgerald will be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he finally decides to call it quits. In his 17-year career, he stands second in almost all wide receiver categories behind, only the great Jerry Rice. What’s even more incredible, he’s put up these numbers despite there being a revolving door of quarterbacks during his entire career in Arizona.
In all, in 263 career regular season games, Fitzgerald has accumulated 1,432 receptions (2nd all time), 17,492 rec. yards (2nd all time), and 121 touchdowns (6th all time). He’s been to 11 Pro Bowls and was voted 1st Team All-Pro in 2008. For the production, he was also named to the Hall of Fame All-2010s team.
Off the field, it’s hard to find a more likable, humble human being. He’s represented his team, state and brand to the highest degree over the last decade-plus. He could certainly run for governor of Arizona some day and win in a landslide.
Moving forward to 2021, however, the Arizona Cardinals need to move on from Fitzgerald if they wish to be in contention for their first Lombardi Trophy. It starts with getting younger and better at the wideout position.
Fitzgerald already has a successor in DeAndre Hopkins — he needs more weapons around him to alleviate the pressures of being the best skill position player on the field. Giving Kyler Murray a younger, faster, stronger group of WRs is what is needed for this group to be successful. Unfortunately, that equates to Fitz being the odd man out, as at his age and lack of production, the Cardinals cannot afford to waste a roster spot for the sake of loyalty.
2021 will come with some tough questions, answers and decisions for the Cardinals front office — but tough choices are how average teams become great teams. It’s time for the Cardinals to move on from the past and become a great team.