Speculation that Larry Fitzgerald would either demand a trade or be traded less willingly by the Cardinals hit an all time high this season. Most prominently during a nine game losing streak, which saw Fitzgerald posting a dismal 407 yards with 2 touchdowns and 35 receptions. He was targeted 93 times over that stretch. Clearly the fault lies with poor quarterbacking for Fitzgerald’s mediocre stats.
Fitzgerald is arguably the best receiver in the NFL. His stats may not be telling of his ability, but I can’t imagine anybody doing better with a combination of Kevin Kolb, Brian Hoyer, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley at quarterback. Looking at the list of quarterbacks the Cardinals went through this season, it is easy to surmise that no talent is wasted quite like Fitzgerald’s.
Few players deserve a chance to play for a Super Bowl quite like Fitzgerald. He is a class act, fan favorite and great ambassador of the game. Not to mention a surefire hall of famer. I certainly wouldn’t blame Fitzgerald if he did ask for a trade to a contender. I do however think the Cardinals, if they have the option and I think they do, should keep their franchise player.
Nothing in life is guaranteed, but Fitzgerald’s production comes about as close as it gets. The draft pick and or picks that they might get for Fitzgerald, not so much. Even the roster player they might be able to get in return for Fitzgerald, no matter who that player is, will far from be a given to succeed in Arizona.
Then there is the issue of what exactly Fitzgerald would garner in a trade. A first rounder seems fair. Hell, a relatively high first round pick would be fair. That being said, Brandon Marshall only landed the Dolphins 2 third round picks and he is a year younger. Marshall also comes with some serious baggage, but it’s not a bad comparable player. Marshall did finish the season with more than 1,500 yards after all. That’s almost double what Fitzgerald had and higher than Fitzgerald’s career high of 1,431.
If Fitzgerald asks for a trade, the Cardinals owe it to Fitzgerald to find him a contender. If not, I see no reason to trade him. Fitzgerald is a once in a generation type player. Replacing Fitzgerald is nothing short of impossible. It’s not just what Fitzgerald does on the field that makes him worth keeping around. Fitzgerald is incredibly active in the community and the locker room. He pushes those around him to be better and always takes the young receivers under his wing. Besides, I don’t think trading away a top five receiver will make fixing the quarterback position any easier.
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