For the past 17 years, fans of the Arizona Cardinals could count on one thing. Through good times and bad, future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald would be out there on the playing field with his teammates. The thought of a Cardinals squad going into a season without the superstar wide receiver on the roster is almost impossible to imagine.
Nothing lasts forever, however, and the day will come when the Cards will have to move forward without Fitzgerald. Actually, that scenario could present itself in the near future. At this very moment, Arizona is waiting to hear if Fitzgerald is going to hang up the cleats or come back to the team for his 18th professional campaign.
Fitzgerald has done the same thing he’s doing now (keeping management guessing) during the last several offseasons. The longest that the 6’3, 220 pounder has taken to announce his plans was back in 2018, when he kept the organization wondering until February. This is the first time that Fitzgerald has gone into the month of March without informing the world of his intentions.
For the past five seasons, Fitzgerald has been paid $11 million annually by the Cardinals. Limited salary-cap space, combined with a drop in production, will likely mean a smaller paycheck for the 37-year old. It will be interesting to see how much less the classy Fitzgerald would be willing to accept from the Cards front office.
The numbers registered by Fitzgerald last fall were the lowest since his rookie campaign in 2004. In 13 starts, the 37-year old hauled in 54 passes for 409 yards and just one touchdown for the Redbirds. Fitzgerald’s 7.6 yards per reception was downright ugly.
Still, Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury wants Fitzgerald to return in 2021. “It’s been an honor, to come in as a young coach from college, and just the way he embraced the coaching and offense and his work ethic,” Kingsbury told reporters last week. “And I hope he plays five more years.”