The one-year extension Fitzgerald agreed to with the Cardinals on Wednesday will include an $11 million base salary plus up to $1 million in incentives, Field Yates of ESPN reports. Though Fitzgerald finished 2018 with 69 receptions for 734 yards -- his lowest totals in both categories for any season in which he played 16 games -- the Cardinals will bring him back at the same salary he's played under each of the past three years with the expectation that his numbers will bounce back. Signal-caller Josh Rosen struggled to move the chains as a rookie, but he'll likely benefit from the tutelage of new coach Kliff Kingsbury, who oversaw consistently productive passing attacks during his tenure at Texas Tech. In addition to some expected growth from Rosen, Fitzgerald's prospects would improve further if young receivers Christian Kirk (foot) and Trent Sherfield can make strides in their second seasons and take some of the opposing defenses' attention away from the future Hall of Famer.
Fitzgerald plans to re-sign with the Cardinals on a one-year contract, Darren Urban of the team's official website reports. Fitzgerald will return for at least one more season to work with second-year quarterback Josh Rosen and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The veteran is coming off a career-low 734 yards in his age-35 campaign, though he still led Arizona in every major receiving category. Armed with cap space as well as the first pick in each round of the upcoming draft, the Cardinals surely will prioritize upgrades on their dreadful offensive line to give Rosen, Fitzgerald, David Johnson and Christian Kirk (foot) a better chance at success under the new coaching staff. Kingsbury was known for his pass-heavy Air Raid offenses at Texas Tech and likely will install a scheme that's more aggressive than what the Cardinals ran under Mike McCoy and Byron Leftwich in 2018. There's legitimate hope for a rebound for Fitzgerald, considering he's already proven himself capable of beating defenses without the help of high-end foot speed. He had three consecutive seasons with triple-digit receptions and more than 1,000 yards from 2015 to 2017.
Fitzgerald has yet to make a decision on his playing status for the 2019 season, ESPN.com reports. In the previous two offseasons, Fitzgerald announced his intentions to return in February, so he seems to be following a similar schedule this time around. Although he gutted out a 16-game slate for a fourth consecutive campaign and 12th time in 15 seasons, the 35-year-old's production suffered due to hamstring and back injuries in the first half of 2018 and generally underwhelming quarterback play from the trio of Josh Rosen, Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. Overall, Fitzgerald mustered his third-fewest catches (69) and lowest number of receiving yards (734) in a given season, while scoring six touchdowns in the Cardinals' league-worst offense. Whether or not he signs up for another year remains to be seen, but Rosen will be in his second season, and the team hired offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury from the college ranks, so Fitzgerald may be inspired to roll the dice yet again.
Fitzgerald brought in six of nine targets for 53 yards and also threw a 32-yard touchdown on his only pass attempt in the Cardinals' 31-9 loss to the Rams on Sunday. If, as rumored, this was indeed Fitzgerald's home swan song, he went out with a bang. The ageless veteran and future Hall of Famer threw his first career touchdown pass when he found David Johnson from 32 yards out on a second-quarter trick play. He also co-led the team in receptions and checked in behind only rookie Trent Sherfield in receiving yards. The 15-year veteran heads into Week 17 having eclipsed 50 receiving yards in three straight games, and he'll look to put together a strong performance against the Seahawks in what could be his final career game.
Fitzgerald caught five of nine targets for 55 yards during Sunday's 17-3 loss to Detroit. Fitzgerald made history Sunday, passing Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice for the most receptions (1,286) for any one team in NFL history. The veteran nonetheless had trouble taking advantage of a plus matchup against a weak Lions secondary. Most of his struggles are connected to the uninspiring play of rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, though. Since we shouldn't expect Rosen to pick up his play anytime soon, don't look to Fitzgerald for reliable production, either. After all, he's only topped 50 receiving yards in two other games this season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|7||10/20||@New York Giants||10||20.75|
|8||10/27||@New Orleans Saints||31||26.67|
|9||11/01||San Francisco 49ers||30||26.13|
|10||11/10||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||25.00|
|11||11/17||@San Francisco 49ers||30||26.13|
|13||12/01||Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|
|17||12/29||@Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||141||95||971||6||55||10.22||133|