Larry Fitzgerald decided to return for another season in 2018, and hopefully he will continue to play at a high level at 35 and with another new quarterback. Carson Palmer has retired, and the Cardinals are expected to use either Sam Bradford or rookie Josh Rosen as their starter this season. A new quarterback is old hat for Fitzgerald, who has caught passes from 14 different quarterbacks in Arizona since coming into the NFL in 2004. He had three different quarterbacks in 2017 with Palmer, Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert, but Fitzgerald still finished as the No. 8 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues. It's his third year in a row finishing in the top 17 in standard leagues, and we hope he just continues to get better with age. He also has a new offensive coordinator this year in Mike McCoy, but the passing game should still run through Fitzgerald, who has averaged 108 catches for 1,131 yards and seven touchdowns over the past three seasons. He's worth drafting as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, and he should come off the board in Round 5 in standard leagues and Round 4 in PPR.
Fitzgerald will be working with quarterback Sam Bradford in 2018 after the latter signed with the Cardinals on Friday. The Cards have employed a cavalcade of quarterbacks during Fitzgerald's 14-year career, but the lack of consistency under center hasn't stopped the wide receiver from putting together a Hall of Fame resume. After the Carson Palmer era ended this offseason, the team was in the market for one of the free-agent signal callers and settled on Bradford, who played one game with the Vikings last season before a bone bruise in his knee and the performance of Case Keenum allowed for just one more appearance. If the injury bug bites Bradford again, head coach Steve Wilks will turn to Mike Glennon or a potential pick in the upcoming draft. Despite working with three QBs in 2017, Fitzgerald posted his third consecutive 100-catch, 1,000-yard campaign, so Bradford's accuracy (71.8 percent in 17 outings in Minnesota) should help him maintain relevance in his age-35 season.
Fitzgerald's $11 million salary for 2018 became guaranteed Friday, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic reports. Though Fitzgerald remains on the Arizona roster, the guaranteed salary doesn't affect his decision regarding retirement, which the 34-year-old continues to contemplate. It's expected that Fitzgerald will announce his intentions for 2018 later this month, but if he chooses to walk away from the game, he would forfeit the $11 million he's owed.
Fitzgerald said Sunday that he'll make a decision on his future "in a week or two," Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports. The comment was preceded by another in which Fitzgerald relayed that certain things will need to be known, personnel-wise. He's certainly alluding to the Cardinals' quarterback situation in the wake of Carson Palmer's retirement. With Palmer out of the picture, the team doesn't have one signal caller under contract and won't be able to amend that reality, at the earliest, until free agency starts on March 14. As a result, Fitzgerald's "in a week or two" caveat should be taken with a grain of salt.
Fitzgerald hasn't made a decision on whether to play in 2018, Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com reports. "I spoke with Larry," new Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks said Tuesday. "We had a very in-depth conversation. I enjoyed the conversation he and I had. He did not express he was or wasn't coming back, but we would definitely love to have him back." Fitzgerald had a lot working against him this past season. First and foremost, he turned 34 just before Week 1, a game in which stellar running back David Johnson (wrist) was lost for the year. The double whammy would've been difficult for most wide receivers to overcome, but Fitzgerald weathered that storm, as well as three different quarterbacks, en route to a third consecutive 100-catch, 1,000-yard campaign. With a defensive mind taking over the top coaching post, Fitzgerald's decision may depend on the hire at offensive coordinator and how the Cardinals populate the QB room in the offseason.
Fitzgerald corralled eight of 13 passes for 55 yards during Sunday's 26-24 win at Seattle. After reaching 100 receptions and 1,000 yards for a third season in a row last Sunday, Fitzgerald was in the running for a second consecutive catch title with fellow centurion Antonio Brown (101 catches) sidelined due to a strained calf. Heading into Week 17, Fitzgerald's only real competition, Jarvis Landry, had a slight 103-101 lead, but the latter was far more efficient with his looks Sunday (nine grabs on 10 targets) and ended the regular season in the No. 1 spot. After inking an extension in November, Fitzgerald has one year remaining on his current contract, but his return may be contingent on whether head coach Bruce Arians opts to stick around. "I don't want to think about him walking away right now," Fitzgerald told Kyle Odegard of the Cardinals' official site. "We're holding out hope." Don't expect a decision from Fitzgerald anytime soon.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/16||@Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
|5||10/07||@San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|8||10/28||San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|10||11/11||@Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
|12||11/25||@Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|13||12/02||@Green Bay Packers||32||24.13|
|16||12/23||Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||153||108||1131||7||63||10.47||153|