Larry Fitzgerald

Latest On Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson

Two of the best players in Cardinals history are set for free agency in March. While the Cardinals do not have to worry about Larry Fitzgerald defecting to another team, with the future Hall of Famer indicating he would only play for the Cards, Patrick Peterson could leave after 10 seasons in Arizona.

After Michael Bidwill indicated the Cardinals would like to bring back Peterson, GM Steve Keim confirmed he has spoken with the eight-time Pro Bowler this offseason, according to the Arizona Republic’s Bob McManamon.

Keim stopped short of saying he would like to extend Peterson before he hits the market, citing the salary cap uncertainty as a key reason he did not have a clear idea of the All-Decade defender’s place with the 2021 Cardinals.

Peterson’s play over the past two years has not measured up to his Pro Bowl-level work, and he will turn 31 this year. The Cardinals, however, also have Dre Kirkpatrick set for free agency and have seen Robert Alford miss two full seasons since he signed with Arizona in 2019. The team has a considerable need at cornerback.

The Cardinals are respecting Fitzgerald’s timeline. Keim has not spoken to Fitz this offseason, per McManamon. Like he has for the past few seasons, Fitzgerald is taking time to determine whether he wants to return. The 37-year-old wideout has indicated only a championship will matter for him going forward.

Fitz saw his production tumble in 2020. Although the 17-year veteran missed three games, his 31.5 yards per game represented a career-low figure — by a wide margin. After making $11MM last year, Fitz would almost certainly need to agree to a lower-cost deal if he were to return for an 18th season. Arizona has DeAndre Hopkins signed long-term, but Christian Kirk is going into a contract year after an inconsistent three-season run.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald: “No Timeline” For Decision

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald still isn’t sure about his plans for 2021 and beyond. When asked at a Pro-Am tournament in Arizona, Fitzgerald stressed that he isn’t in any rush to announce his retirement or return. 

I’m just playing golf right now, that’s all I’m worried about,” Fitzgerald said. “No timeline. I’m just taking it day by day. Honestly I haven’t given it much thought.”

Speculation about Fitzgerald’s future has become something of an offseason staple. In 2017, Fitzgerald was thought to be on his farewell tour. Then, midway through the year, he inked a one-year extension worth $11MM. A few re-ups later, Fitzgerald is still going. In his age-37 season, Fitzgerald was still reasonably productive with 54 catches for 409 yards and one touchdown. The 11-time Pro Bowler has pretty much done it all, save for capturing a Super Bowl ring.

You wouldn’t see me around here anymore if [we win the Super Bowl],” Fitzgerald said last September. “Another catch, another touchdown, another yard is not going to make more whatever – my legacy is pretty much cemented. I just want to win a championship, I want to compete for a division title. Those are the things that are important to me.”

The chase could lead him to return for his age-38 campaign but, for now, he’s keeping the focus on his family and his short game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: Fitzgerald, Gould, Reed

Speculating about Larry Fitzgerald‘s future has become something of a holiday tradition over the past few seasons. The surefire Hall-of-Famer did say earlier this year that if the Cardinals were to win Super Bowl LV, he would ride off into the sunset, but Arizona’s hopes for its first Lombardi Trophy suffered a major blow in an upset loss to the 49ers last night.

So will Fitz be back in 2021? As Rachel Gossen of ArizonaSports.com writes, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he believes Fitzgerald could play for another four seasons, but Fitzgerald himself was noncommittal.

“I haven’t really given it much thought to be honest with you,” he said. Though Fitzgerald did add that it will be nice to have fans back in the stands when it’s safe, Kingsbury downplayed the notion that Fitzgerald would return just to receive a proper sendoff from the Cardinals’ faithful.

As we wait to see whether one of the best receivers in NFL history will call it a career, and as the Cards focus on keeping their fading playoff hopes alive, let’s round up a few more notes from the NFC West:

  • The 49ers have a big decision to make on kicker Robbie Gould this week. Per the four-year extension Gould signed in 2019, San Francisco has until January 2 to pick up an option that would guarantee $2.25MM of Gould’s $4.5MM 2021 salary. Gould had hit 90.5% of his field goal attempts heading into last night’s matchup with Arizona, but he missed two FGA’s and a PAT in a 20-12 win that could have been more decisive. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan said the performance will not impact the team’s decision on Gould’s contract. “You got to look at the body of work, and Robbie has been unbelievable,” Shanahan said (Twitter link via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area).
  • Claimed off waivers from the division-rival 49ers in August, Seahawks CB D.J. Reed has been a great find for Seattle. In eight games (six starts), Reed has lined up both in the slot and outside the numbers and has accumulated 49 tackles, two interceptions, and six passes defensed while yielding a modest 77.9 passer rating as the nearest defender (via NFL Next Gen stats). Though the 5-9 Reed does not fit the mold of the big-bodied specimens that Seattle generally prefers at the outside corner positions, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com thinks his presence could make the club more amenable to moving on from contract-year players Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin. Reed will be entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2021.
  • As Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic points out, the Rams would be about $26MM over the 2021 salary cap if the cap is decreased to $175MM as many expect. So while the club can certainly restructure the contracts of players like Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp to create space, it will also have tough decisions to make on pending free agents. Rodrigue posits that, if DC Brandon Staley gets hired as a head coach, he may try to bring safety John Johnson and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd with him, though Los Angeles will doubtlessly prioritize re-ups with both players. Meanwhile, Rodrigue sees players like WR Josh Reynolds and TE Gerald Everett signing elsewhere this offseason.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, Whitworth, Garoppolo

Cardinals NT Corey Peters is out for the season due to a torn patellar tendon, and as he is in the final year of his contract with Arizona, it’s possible he has already played his last game with the team. But if he has it his way, that won’t be the case.

The 32-year-old said that he would love to spend the rest of his career with the Cardinals, as Mason Kern of SI.com writes, and assuming the price is right, it would make sense for GM Steve Keim to keep him. Peters was named Arizona’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award yesterday, and he has been a team captain for three years running. In addition to his stout defense against the run, he is a highly-respected spiritual and emotional leader, so look for the two sides to discuss a reunion this offseason.

Now for more from the NFC West:

  • Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald says he feels much better after testing positive for COVID-19 late last month, though he has yet to regain his senses of taste and smell (Twitter link via Kimberley A. Martin of ESPN.com). Fitz also says he lost nine pounds during his bout with the coronavirus, but he did come off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, and as Darren Urban of the team’s official website tweets, the 37-year-old will suit up against the Giants this weekend.
  • After sinking 88.6% of his field goal tries in 2019, Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez has converted just 72.7% of his attempts this year, prompting some to wonder if the team will seek another option. But Keim will keep rolling with Gonzalez, saying, “I know people question Zane but Zane has a lot of talent. … I think Zane will work through the tough times” (Twitter link via Urban). Gonzalez is playing out the season on his RFA tender, and this is not how he wanted to enter his first offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Rams suddenly find themselves atop the NFC West, and they could be getting their left tackle back soon. Andrew Whitworth has been on the shelf since the middle of November with a torn MCL and PCL, but Jay Glazer of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that the veteran OT, who turns 39 tomorrow, will test out the knee next week. Whitworth is apparently way ahead of schedule and could return by the end of the regular season.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo‘s future with the 49ers is in some doubt, even though HC Kyle Shanahan recently said he expects the dashing signal-caller to be the team’s starter in 2021. That may well be the case, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic believes San Francisco will select a QB in next year’s draft, perhaps as high as the second round. There could be a few intriguing prospects available at that point that Shanahan may be able to turn into a viable starter at the professional level. Players like Florida’s Kyle Trask or Alabama’s Mac Jones could both be options.
  • It has now been over a year since Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny last suited up for a game, but as John Boyle of the team’s official website notes, Penny returned to practice this week. Head coach Pete Carroll says he’s excited about what he has seen from Penny in practice (Twitter link via 710 ESPN Seattle), and the ‘Hawks could certainly use a boost to an RB corps that has dealt with a number of injuries this season. Per Boyle, CB Quinton Dunbar, who has been on IR for a few weeks with a knee injury, has also returned to practice.
  • The Seahawks signed QB Alex McGough to their practice squad yesterday, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, the team has put its other PS signal-caller, Danny Etling, in a bubble. The Broncos, of course, recently had to play a game with a practice squad wide receiver at QB because the rest of their quarterbacks were deemed high-risk close contacts of Jeff Driskel, who had tested positive. The Seahawks are keeping Etling in a bubble to guard against just such a situation.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/8/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Washington Football Team

  • Signed to active roster off practice squad: TE Marcus Baugh

Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald Tests Positive For COVID-19

Larry Fitzgerald has tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). At minimum, the Cardinals wide receiver will miss Sunday’s game against the Patriots. 

[RELATED: Cardinals’ Thompson To Miss Time]

Just yesterday, the NFL was forced to bump Ravens-Steelers from Thursday night in primetime to Sunday afternoon. Despite its protocols and access to tests, the league has been unable to keep a lid on viral spread. Fortunately, most players have experienced mild symptoms, or no symptoms, following their positive tests. However, two players have been forced to end their seasons early due to complications. Jaguars running back Ryquell Armstead had to be hospitalized twice with major symptoms before he was ultimately ruled out for the season in October. And, earlier this week, Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney was diagnosed with myocarditis, a heart condition which has been linked to the coronavirus.

Fitzgerald, 37, continues to be productive at his advanced age. Just last week, Fitz reeled in eight catches for 62 yards against the Seahawks, matching his stat line from their first meeting in October. All in all, he’s caught 43 passes for 336 yards alongside DeAndre Hopkins, who has become Kyler Murray‘s top target.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Cardinals Extend Larry Fitzgerald

Three years ago, Larry Fitzgerald was thought to be on his farewell tour. That, of course, was not the case. The Cardinals inked the legendary wide receiver to a new one-year extension worth $11MM, tying him to the team for at least one more year. "<strong

Fitzgerald was considering retirement, but the Cardinals talked him out of it with this re-up, which included a no-trade clause. It wasn’t necessarily an easy decision for the vet, who could have left on a high note. At the time of the deal, Fitzgerald led the NFC with 60 catches and was on pace for well over 1,000 yards. No player in league history ever registered more than 100 catches and 1,000 yards in an age-34 season — Fitzgerald did it with ease.

The deal didn’t necessarily guarantee that Fitzgerald would play in 2018 — it merely put the ball in his court. Fitzgerald went on to play and suit up for every game, matching kicker Jim Bakken for the most regular season games played in Cardinals history with 234. He also captured his eleventh career Pro Bowl nod and leapfrogged tight end Tony Gonzalez for second all-time in NFL receptions, behind Jerry Rice. Fitzgerald didn’t stop there — he’s now eclipsed Randy Moss and Terrell Owens on the all-time list with 17,000+ receiving yards. Once again, only Rice (22,895) tops him.

Fitzgerald is still doing his thing at the age of 37 and he’s still not quite ready to commit to retirement. What would it take for one of the league’s all-time legends to call it quits?

You wouldn’t see me around here anymore if [we win the Super Bowl this year],” Fitzgerald said in September. “Another catch, another touchdown, another yard is not going to make more whatever – my legacy is pretty much cemented. I just want to win a championship, I want to compete for a division title. Those are the things that are important to me.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

WR Notes: Fitz, Evans, Sutton, Reagor, Lions

Larry Fitzgerald has taken a year-to-year approach to retirement for a while now, but the Cardinals‘ all-time great has continued to return and remain productive. However, he will not spend much time considering a return if the now-Kyler Murray-led team makes a surprise run and wins Super Bowl LV this season.

That would definitely validate me,” Fitzgerald said of a Super Bowl victory, via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. “You wouldn’t see me around here anymore if that happened. Another catch, another touchdown, another yard is not going to make more whatever – my legacy is pretty much cemented. I just want to win a championship, I want to compete for a division title. Those are the things that are important to me.”

Now 37, the league’s oldest active wideout has climbed into second place on both the receptions and receiving yards lists. Needing 172 catches to pass Jerry Rice, Fitz would likely need at least two more full seasons to have a chance to move into the No. 1 spot on that list. A yardage pursuit does not seem remotely attainable. Regarding the Cards’ Super Bowl hopes, they sit 17th at plus-5000 — according to BetOnline.ag — to claim a championship this year.

As Week 1 approaches for 30 teams, here is the latest wide receiver news:

  • Sunday will likely force fantasy managers to make changes, and Tom Brady may well have to adjust in his first game with Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have listed Mike Evans as doubtful to face the Saints. Evans did not practice Wednesday or Thursday with a hamstring injury, before being limited Friday. This is a familiar situation for the seventh-year wideout; Evans missed the final three games of the 2019 season with a hamstring malady.
  • Kenny Golladay is on track to miss the first game in his contract season. The Lions listed their top wideout as doubtful as well. The fourth-year standout has also encountered hamstring trouble. Detroit is not particularly deep at wideout, at least in terms of proven targets, but does have Marvin Jones back to start his contract year. The Lions also re-signed Danny Amendola this offseason.
  • The AC joint sprain Courtland Sutton suffered in practice looks likely to shelve him for the Broncos‘ Monday opener against the Titans. While the Broncos are calling their top receiver “day to day,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes the third-year standout is a long shot to play in Week 1 (video link). Sutton has not yet missed a game as a pro.
  • Not all the current wide receiver news skews negative. After fears pointed to Jalen Reagor missing multiple September games, the Eagles wide receiver was a full practice participant each day this week and appears on track to play against Washington on Sunday. The first-round pick suffered a torn shoulder labrum during training camp. His presence will certainly help a receiving corps down Alshon Jeffery for the foreseeable future.

Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald To Return

Retirement can wait. On Wednesday, Larry Fitzgerald agreed to a new one-year deal with the Cardinals, setting the stage for his 17th season in Arizona.

The new deal mirrors Fitzgerald’s 2019 pact. No. 11 will earn a base salary of $11MM for the fifth-straight year, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. He’ll also see a roster bonuses of $500K with $250K in additional incentives.

Fitzgerald, the NFL’s oldest active wide receiver, was on the fence about playing in 2020. At the same time, he admitted that he had more fun this past season than in previous seasons.

Fitzgerald led the Cardinals with 804 receiving yards and did not miss a game for the fifth straight campaign. With that, the 36-year-old future Hall of Famer will lace ’em up for at least one more year.

Fitzgerald entered the league as a first-round pick in 2004. Since then, he’s reached the Pro Bowl eleven times and, last year, he moved into second place on the NFL’s all-time receptions list, slotting him between Jerry Rice and Tony Gonzalez. He’s also No. 2 in receiving yards, second only to Rice.

The Cardinals are coming off of a trying 5-10-1 season, but there’s reason for hope, including star quarterback Kyler Murray. They can also carve out as much as $74MM for free agents in March and add another impact player with the No. 8 overall pick in April.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, Rams, Alexander

The Cardinals are in the market for a new special teams leader. They fired ST coordinator Randall McCray, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio tweets. After 26 seasons in the college ranks, McCray joined Steve Wilks‘ Cardinals staff. This was his first NFL job. Additionally, Arizona will sever ties with defensive line coach Chris Achuff, Marvez adds. Also a holdover from Wilks’ staff, Achuff had made the college-to-pro transition, with his most recent role marking his initial NFL gig.

Here is the latest from the NFC West, pivoting first to the Cardinals’ most famous player:

  • The NFL’s oldest active wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald led the Cardinals with 804 receiving yards and did not miss a game for the fifth straight season. But yet again, the 36-year-old future Hall of Famer will take time to ponder retirement. Fitz, however, did add that he enjoyed this season more than recent ones, per Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. The 2004 first-round pick moved into second place on the NFL’s all-time receptions list this season, currently sitting between Jerry Rice and Tony Gonzalez with 1,378. Kliff Kingsbury plans to give Fitzgerald an offseason sales pitch to return for his age-37 season.
  • While the Rams received considerably worse play from their highly paid offensive trio of Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks this season, Les Snead pushed back on the notion the recent extensions were the wrong decisions. “From a salary cap standpoint, and I assume the cap does go up, there’s a new collective bargaining agreement that’s coming that’s another variable that we don’t know about,” Snead said, via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry. “We’ve shown in the past that when you have commodities that you might move on with via trade to collect draft capital that maybe the perception says you don’t have and to clear cap space.” That said, the Rams’ top-market extensions caused them to lose key role players this offseason and have Michael Brockers, Cory Littleton, Austin Blythe and Dante Fowler looming as threats to defect in March. The team soon must shape a Jalen Ramsey re-up as well.
  • Another of the Rams’ many key free agents, Andrew Whitworth is now 38. But the Rams will meet with the veteran left tackle to determine if he still fits into their equation, Thiry adds (via Twitter). Snead said Whitworth’s place on the team is “a harder piece of the puzzle.” He signed a three-year, $33.75MM deal in 2017 to head to Los Angeles and has been a key part of Sean McVay‘s three Rams offenses. Should Whitworth not be brought back, youngsters Joe Noteboom and Bobby Evans stand as successor options, per Thiry.
  • J.J. Watt‘s return from a torn pectoral muscle has prompted questions about Kwon Alexander potentially doing the same. The 49ers linebacker is eligible to return for the team’s divisional-round game, but Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area hears such a re-emergence remains unlikely. The 49ers, however, have not completely given up on their highest-paid linebacker coming back for a potential NFC championship game. (Though, Kyle Shanahan deemed this unlikely.) The 49ers have yet to use their second IR-return slot. Like Watt, Alexander missed his team’s final eight regular-season games.