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.
Despite a new coach and offensive coordinator in Steve Wilks and Mike McCoy, respectively, Fitzgerald will return to the team for his age-35 season, where he stands to make $11 million in guaranteed money. From a fantasy perspective, Fitzgerald continues to defy logic for a wide receiver of his age. The 2017 season marked his third-straight year with 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards, and his 109 receptions tied his own franchise record set two years prior. Fitzgerald is also one of the most durable wideouts in the league, as he's failed to play in all 16 games only once in the last 10 seasons. The biggest question mark for the future Hall of Famer might be quarterback play, as Fitzgerald will be left with either Drew Stanton (knee) or Blaine Gabbert at the helm, unless the team selects a rookie in the draft or makes a run at one of the top free-agent options.
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.
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|