It was the fourth round of the 1998 NFL Draft, and the Arizona Cardinals were on the clock. With the 95th-overall pick, former general manager Bob Ferguson grabbed Michael Pittman Sr., a running back out of Fresno State University. It turned out to be a savvy acquisition, with the Cards getting tremendous value out of the muscle-bound ball-carrier.
Now, roughly a quarter of a century later, Arizona could have an opportunity to acquire the namesake of the muscle-bound Pittman. When the league's free-agent signing period gets underway in March, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. could potentially be up for grabs. The Redbirds have a pressing need at wideout, and it would be kind of cool if the franchise addressed the issue with the son of a former family member.
The younger Pittman caught 109 passes this past fall, racking up 1,152 receiving yards and four touchdowns for the Colts scoring attack. It was the 26-year-old's most productive campaign since he turned pro back in 2020. It's also the type of output that should make Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort very intrigued.
Michael Pittman Sr. was a battering ram of a running back for the Arizona Cardinals roughly 25 years ago
Any fans who watched Pittman's father perform for the Cards over two decades ago would have to agree that the bloodlines are good. In his 56 appearances (28 starts) for "Big Red", the elder Pittman amassed 1,945 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. The former Fresno State University product also totaled another 1,039 yards and two scores on his 131 career receptions for the Arizona offense.
The apple hasn't fallen too far from the tree in regards to the Pittman family. During his four seasons in Indy, the younger Pittman has totaled 336 catches, 3,662 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns for the Colts offensive unit. That's outstanding production out of a pass-catcher who was selected with the 34th-overall choice of the '20 draft.
Whether Pittman will even hit the open market is up for debate. According to Spotrac.com, Indianapolis will have upwards of $66.3 million in salary-cap space to work with this offseason. Colts GM Chris Ballard has the means to make Pittman a rich contract offer, and will also have the option of slapping him with the franchise tag if a deal can't be reached.
The Cardinals would likely jump at the chance to add a wideout like Pittman to the mix. There have been rumblings that offensive coordinator Drew Petzing prefers size at the spot, and the 6 foot 4, 223 pounder checks that box for sure. The next step is for Pittman to follow in his dad's footsteps and bring his immense talent to the Arizona desert.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)