Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals are trying their hardest to keep Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona.
Head coach of the Arizona Cardinals Bruce Arians has reiterated multiple times that he desperately wants Larry Fitzgerald to return as a Cardinal next season. The decision though, will be completely up to Fitzgerald.
The star wide-receiver is set to make $15 million this season in salary and will carry a $23.6 million cap hit along with that. That’s a bit more than the Cardinals are willing to handle. While Fitzgerald is still among the top receivers in the league and his reputation alone holds so much weight, he hasn’t been putting up anywhere near the numbers he used to.
This past season, he compiled just 63 receptions for 784 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was used as a decoy in several games, just trying to provide more room for Malcolm Floyd and rookie John Brown more room to work. He has failed to reach the 1,000 yard receiving mark since the 2011 season. However, he did record 10 touchdowns during the 2013 season.
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The reason for Fitzgerald’s statistical decline probably is do somewhat to the receiver getting older, but that’s certainly not the only reason. It doesn’t help that the Cardinals have been playing quarterback roulette the last couple seasons. Especially this season, where the Cardinals used four different quarterbacks under center throughout this season.
Starter Carson Palmer dealt with an injury in the beginning of the season that saw him miss time, only to come back and tear his ACL that would cut his season short. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton held down the fort well before he got hurt, but it seemed like Stanton had more a rapport with Malcolm Floyd than Larry Fitzgerald. Then with Logan Thomas and Ryan Lindley under center, the Cardinals offense is not going to be too productive.
The Cardinals need to address a lot of areas on their team, especially on offense and at the quarterback position. To do that, they are going to need the cap space and money, which creates a dilemma for Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals have told him they desperately want him to stay, but he will need to restructure his deal to do so.
The Cardinals are prepared to move on from Fitzgerald if the financials don’t work out. Malcolm Floyd seems to have emerged already as the number one receiver in Arizona and rookie John Brown is showing a lot of promise.
Still, they won’t be able to replace the leadership and experience Larry Fitzgerald brings to the offense and team. Also, the Cardinals understand the ramifications that could happen if they let a Cardinal icon such as Larry Fitzgerald walk.
H/T to NFL.com
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