Bad things always happen in threes. For the Cardinals this off-season, it was about to be especially true. Fans from Arizona and across the world who support the Cardinals anxiously awaited Fitzgerald’s response to the age old question, “Are you going to play this season?” The Cardinals already endured retirements from their head coach, Bruce Arians, and starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, since the end of their lackluster 2017 season.
Fitzgerald was on the edge about coming back in 2018, and losing two very import cogs in this organization, probably tipped Fitzgerald to the side of retirement. However, in a shocking update, the Arizona Cardinals let the world know that the ageless-wonder is, in fact, returning for another season. Fitzgerald informed new head coach, Steve Wilks, about his decision early February 14th.
For all the lone Cardinals fans, who powered through this bleek Valentine’s Day without the comfort and support of an experienced Head Coach.
To the unattended Cardinals fan, battling to hold back tears while binge watching Black Mirror, on this black and deserted Valentine’s Day, without a signal caller for your beloved football team.
Here comes the knight in shining armor to, once again, pick you up from the dark depths of loneliness. Larry Fitzgerald isn’t nervous about playing with a rookie quarterback or rookie head coach. He’s accepted the challenge and is excited to help pave the way for the next generation of football players.
Albeit, before Fitzgerald is thought of as just a coach on the field, let’s recap Fitzgerald’s 2017 season. At the young age of 34, Fitzgerald finished second in the league with 109 receptions. Finishing with over 1,000 yards, for the ninth time in his career. Catching 67.7% of the passes thrown in his direction, which is good for third best of his career. All while playing with three, not-so-good quarterbacks.
Football isn’t about the past though. You’ve always got to be moving forward. Your team is like a tree. If it’s not growing, then it’s dying. The Cardinals are starting with a small tree right now. A few core pieces (Patrick Peterson, David Johnson and of course Larry Fitzgerald) but still lacking a very important role. Who will be throwing the ball in 2018?
With no quarterback under contract for the upcoming season, I’m betting on the Cardinals trying to make a move for an experienced quarterback in free agency, along with a rookie to get the ball moving for the future.
So who do you target if you’re the Cardinals?
Kirk Cousins is surely the man they’d want to get. Unfortunately, I do not foresee that coming to fruition. The should-be available, unrestricted free agents list is small.
The Cardinals could try for any of the three Vikings quarterbacks on the market. Teddy Bridgewater would be smartest for the long-haul, Sam Bradford would be best for the win-now mentality, along with helping mold a rookie quarterback.
The Cardinals could always try to wheel and deal for a quarterback, I can think of a few. Most notably, a Super Bowl MVP who is still the backup. However, trading for Nick Foles seems eerily similar to the trade for Kevin Kolb a decade ago. Might want to tread lightly.
There are other choices when it comes to getting a quarterback.
This choice probably wouldn’t sit as well with Fitzgerald as getting a quarterback who can step in and lead them right away. However, there is the draft-and-play idea. The Cardinals have the fifteenth selection in this year’s draft. That will most-likely eliminate Mayfield, Rosen, Darnold and Allen.
This would leave them with three options on draft day. Draft Lamar Jackson if he’s available. Trade up to get one of the four aforementioned quarterbacks, or lastly wait until day two to get their quarterback, like Kyle Lauletta or Kurt Benkert.
Nonetheless, the Cardinals have to make a decision about their future and about their 2018 season. Maybe it’s one move for both or maybe two moves respectively. Either way we know one thing. Father time has yet to reel in Larry Fitzgerald as he sets to return for what’s sure to be another fantastic season.