If the Arizona Cardinals know, they aren’t saying. One of the best-kept secrets of the NFL offseason has centered around Larry Fitzgerald, the future Hall of Fame wide receiver. The world is waiting for an answer on whether the 37-year old will continue a playing career that has lasted for 17 distinguished seasons.
This past Thursday, Cards head coach Kliff Kingsbury addressed the subject (well, sort of) during a pre-draft video news conference he conducted with general manager Steve Keim. “Nothing has changed on that front,” said Kingsbury when asked about Fitzgerald. “My communication with Larry has literally consisted of golf, investments or Phoenix Suns basketball.”
If Fitzgerald’s indecisiveness has been a distraction to the organization, the Cardinals certainly aren’t letting on that it is. “No matter what Larry decides, it does not affect our draft plans,” added Keim. “Again, to me, you can’t have enough good players at one position.”
That may be true, but only to an extent. Many Arizona fans believed that last month’s free-agent signing of veteran wideout A.J. Green meant the end of Fitzgerald’s association with the franchise. According to Keim at least, that may not be the case, but what if the Cards choose a receiver during the first or second round of this week’s NFL Draft?
Drafting a stud pass-catcher like DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle this coming Thursday would make the Cardinals offense more dynamic, but it’s definitely not a necessity. With the aforementioned Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson on the roster, the position is far from a weakness. Adding a Smith or Waddle to a group that already appears to be stacked would almost certainly leave no room in Arizona’s receivers room for the legendary Fitzgerald.
For that reason alone, the Cards should go in another direction with both of their first two draft selections. In all honesty, cornerback, tight end and even edge-rusher are much more pressing needs. Fitzgerald deserves as much time as possible to decide if he wants to play this fall, even if that means coming to an agreement with the club just days before the season-opener.
The offseason moves that have been made by Keim and company are blatant proof that the front office is thinking Super Bowl championship in 2021. Stranger things have happened in the world of professional football, so doubting that the Cardinals can achieve that goal could be a mistake. It would be a horrible shame if Big Red succeeded in bringing home a Vince Lombardi Trophy next February, and the sensational Fitzgerald wasn’t a part of it.