This is assuming Fitzgerald decides to keep playing. But even in his old age, he once again proved why he’s so valuable to the franchise. Like Dan Arnold, Fitzgerald isn’t producing eye-popping numbers. But also like Arnold, he still serves a legit role.
Fitzgerald has repurposed himself as an excellent possession receiver. Even as we play the guessing game as to whether he will return for his 18th season, there is no denying his value. Expect Fitzgerald to take a lot of time to make the decision, and don’t be surprised if the decision comes later than usual.
So why should the Cardinals keep an aging receiver whose numbers dwindled in 2020? Because he remains one of the league’s most sure-handed receivers who catches nearly everything thrown his way. While Fitzgerald recorded a career-low 54 receptions for 409 yards and just 7.6 yards per reception, he still caught a whopping 75 percent of his 72 targets. The second-highest of his career.
As with tight-end, the Cardinals would do well to upgrade the receiving unit, which would put Fitzgerald at third on the depth chart. At best. They’ll have Hopkins as the go-to, a number two receiver through the draft or free agency who can draw attention away from Hopkins. Plus, an underneath option that Fitzgerald still thrives in, along with Christian Kirk.
So as long as Fitzgerald can play an efficient role for the Cardinals, they need to re-sign him without hesitation. The upside here is that if Fitzgerald decides to give it one more go, it’s highly unlikely he’ll sign anywhere else. So if he wants to return and the Cardinals want him back, he’s a shoo-in to be re-signed.