After 24 days of speculating Larry Fitzgerald’s future, we can finally put an end to all of the discussion. He has re-signed with the Arizona Cardinals on a one-year deal, returning for his 16th season in the NFL.
He has the third-most receptions (1,303) and second-most receiving yards (16,279) in NFL history, trailing the great Jerry Rice. He could vault himself over Tony Gonzalez for the second-most receptions, and there is a strong chance that he will.
Despite the return of the Cardinals’ longest-tenured receiver, they are still in need of more help at that position. Before Christian Kirk suffered a broken foot injury, he was Josh Rosen’s favorite target and has proven to be a player that can take the top off of any defense. Trent Sherfield was the next man up and exceeded expectations as an undrafted receiver in his rookie year.
Chad Williams will have an uphill battle for a spot at the bottom of the depth chart, after having another disappointing season. There are still a lot of unknowns about Jalen Tolliver and Pro Bowl return-specialist Pharoh Cooper as a receiver. The speedster J.J. Nelson will be a free agent.
The Cardinals did have the worst passing offense in the NFL for a reason. Blame can be thrown all around the offense, but Fitzgerald and Kirk were never the problem.
Expect the Cardinals to add a veteran wide receiver, with the names below as potential targets.
Golden Tate - Philadelphia Eagles
The soon-to-be 31-year-old receiver isn’t getting any younger. He’s a receiver that can stretch the field, with his run-after-the-catch ability, but he would only be a old short-term option. He’s at the point in his career where winning is the only thing that matters, meaning a return to the Philadelphia Eagles or signing with a 2018 playoff team likely.
Randall Cobb - Green Bay Packers
The Cardinals will probably target Cobb in free agency because of his familiarity with former Packers coaches Tom Clements and David Raih who are now with the Cardinals. His 2018 season was hampered with a concussion, so his health is a concern. Cobb has missed 11 regular season games the past three seasons. He will turn 29 in August and seems to be another receiver on the downside of their NFL career.
Adam Humphries - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The undrafted receiver out of Clemson has exceeded expectations with the Buccaneers. This past season, the 25-year-old set career-highs in receptions (76), receiving yards (816), and touchdowns (5). He has a very similar build (5-11 195lbs) and playing style to Christian Kirk, with their explosiveness as a return specialist and ability to play all over the field on the offense. If the Cardinals are going to pay big money to any receiver outside of this team, Humphries is the way to go.
Tyrell Williams - Los Angeles Chargers
He’s been a speedy deep-threat for the Chargers that found a way to be productive playing behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. The past three seasons, he’s caught 153 passes for 2440 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. Along with his speed and production, Williams is young (26), big (6-4 203lbs), and his ability to stretch the field in the passing game fits perfectly in Kliff Kingsbury’s air raid offense.
Donte Moncrief - Jacksonville Jaguars
Moncrief is a big wide receiver (6-2 216lbs) but has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. He signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Jaguars this past season but didn’t exactly prove anything. He made a few big plays but wasn’t a receiver the Jaguars could count on a consistent basis when Marqise Lee was placed on injury reserve. Fortunately, Moncrief is still young (26) but not a receiver the Cardinals should break-the-bank for.
Kevin White - Chicago Bears
The former seventh overall pick of the Chicago Bears has been a bust, missing 50 games in his four-year NFL career. Within that time, White caught 25 passes for 285 yards and no touchdowns. He’s been a healthy scratch for most of the 2018 season but i’m a believer that if he stays healthy, which is a big if, and gets more reps that he can be something special in the league. This guy has the size (6-3 216lbs), speed (4.35 40), and when he’s played he has shown what he could do as a blocker. But he has failed to be anything close to reliable catching the ball. A one-year veteran minimum for this guy wouldn’t hurt.
Other mentions: Chris Conley, Jermaine Kearse, Cole Beasley, Cordarrelle Patterson, Breshad Perriman, Devin Funchess, John Brown, Chris Hogan
Maybe the Cardinals should consider trading for Chargers’ backup receiver Dylan Cantrell, who played for Kingsbury at Texas Tech.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinals signed two of the players on this list.
The draft is filled with talented wide receivers but I will save this subject for another article.