We have already looked at the 2015 season and the 2016 outlook for the Arizona Cardinals at quarterback and at running back. Today we look at wide receiver, which was a good group in 2015. 2016 promises much of the same without much change.
Let's dig in!
Looking back at 2015
When you have a quarterback setting passing records like the Cardinals did with Carson Palmer, that means your receivers have had a good year. This is true in 2015 for the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald experiences a renaissance of sorts after three seasons of subpar numbers. He set a career-high and franchise record for receptions with 109 and had over 1200 yards. John Brown passed 1000 yards as well. Michael Floyd had 52 catches and 849 yards and six touchdowns, too. Had he not badly injured his hand in training camp, Bruce Arians believes he would have had 1500 yards. He finished the season with four 100-yard games in the final seven of the regular season and was looking dominant.
Even fifth round pick J.J. Nelson had an impact, and no one outside the organization thought he would be anything more than a returner.
Jaron Brown and Brittan Golden each were key special teams contributors.
Larry Fitzgerald: He has one year remaining of the two-year, $22 million contract he signed last offseason. The team never wants him to play anywhere else. Bruce Arians wonders if he will play beyond 2016. It is a real possibility this will be Fitz' final season in Arizona. His cap number is almost $16 million.
Michael Floyd: The team exercised his fifth-year option. He will make more than $7.3 million in 2016.
John Brown: He enters Year 3 of his rookie contract. He is signed through 2017. He will make $612K in 2016 and count more than $747K against the cap.
Jaron Brown: The other Brown is a restricted free agent this offseason.
J.J. Nelson: He is signed through 2018. He will earn $525K next season and count more than $577K against the cap.
Brittan Golden: He is under contract through 2016. he will earn $600K and count the same amount against the cap.
The offseason outlook
This position appears to not need much change. Considering the team's goals this season, none of the top guys are likely going anywhere. While Michael Floyd was in some trade discussions last offseason, you have to wonder if it would be wise to let him go.
Because of the cost, Jaron Brown probably will not be given an RFA tender. He might come back, but he might draw interest from other teams.
I do not anticipate the Cardinals bringing in any free agent of any note at the position, as the top three guys are all set.
What we should expect is the team to draft a receiver. That is what Bruce Arians does.
So 2016 should look a lot like 2015 in terms of personnel. John Brown and J.J. Nelson hopefully will take another step forward -- Brown especially.
The questions will be whether Fitz comes back next year and whether the Cards decide to extend Floyd.