Fitzgerald Returning for Cardinals in 2018, but Who Is His Quarterback?

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, February 22, 2018 9:58 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 9:58 PM UTC

The Arizona Cardinals will have the services of future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald for the 2018 season, but it’s still up in the air who throws Fitz the ball. Bovada offers two props on Fitzgerald’s season.

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.@LarryFitzgerald's back.
For a 15th season with the @AZCardinals!

Time to celebrate with his top 10 plays of 2017!

— NFL (@NFL) February 15, 2018

The greatest receiver in NFL history without question is Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. He leads the league in just about every receiving category possible, including untouchable records such as yardage (22,895), receptions (1,549) and touchdown catches (197). An argument could be made that Rice is the greatest PLAYER ever, not just receiver.

Rice also had the benefit of playing on some great San Francisco 49ers teams and with two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Joe Montana and Steve Young. Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, on the other hand, has played on some bad teams over his career and with some pretty bad quarterbacks yet is on the short list of greatest receivers in league history. Since Fitzgerald entered the NFL as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2004 draft, here is a list of Arizona’s QBs who made at least one start:

  • Josh McCown
  • Shaun King
  • John Navarre
  • Kurt Warner
  • Matt Leinart
  • Derek Anderson
  • John Skelton
  • Max Hall
  • Kevin Kolb
  • Ryan Lindley
  • Brian Hoyer
  • Carson Palmer
  • Drew Stanton
  • Blaine Gabbert

Some serious clowns in there (I'm better than Hall and Lindley). Warner is a Hall of Famer but was with the Cardinals at the tail end of his career and had only three good seasons in the desert. Palmer was the team’s primary QB the past five seasons but had trouble staying healthy and retired in January. Stanton and Gabbert each started a few games last season. They are both free agents, meaning Arizona doesn’t have a QB on the roster as of now.

Despite that musical chairs at QB, Fitzgerald ranks third in NFL history with 1,234 receptions, third with 15,545 yards and eighth with 110 touchdowns. Last year at age 34, Fitzgerald was second in the league with 109 catches to go with 1,156 yards and six scores in becoming the oldest player in NFL history to have more than 100 catches and 1,000 yards in the same season. He was also named to his 11th Pro Bowl. Alas, Arizona missed the playoffs again at 7-8-1 and isn't given much of a shot for this coming season on the NFL futures.

Fitz has decided to play a 15th season in 2018 even though he has no clue as of now who will be throwing him passes and the fact there’s a new head coach in former Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. Barring injury, Fitzgerald should get to No. 2 on the all-time yardage list as he’s just 389 behind Terrell Owens. Fitz needs 92 catches to pass Tony Gonzalez on the receptions list. Fitzgerald's active consecutive games streak with a catch is at 211, tying him with Gonzalez for second-longest in NFL history. If Fitzgerald were to play in all 16 games in 2018, he would tie kicker Jim Bakken with the most played in franchise history at 234.

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Larry Fitzgerald will return for another season at age 35

He is 1 of 2 players with 100+ catches in each of the last three seasons (Antonio Brown)

No player has ever had 100+ receptions in a season at age 35-or-older@AZCardinals@LarryFitzgerald

— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) February 15, 2018

Bovada offers two specials on Fitzgerald’s 2018 season: ‘over/under’ 1,000 yards and/or six TDs. All options are -120. It’s tough right now to project his numbers because of the Arizona quarterback situation. The Cardinals don’t have enough cap space to sign Kirk Cousins. The Cardinals pick No. 15 overall in the first round of the draft, which means likely no franchise QB will be available there – at least one who will start from the get-go. Would Arizona trade for Eagles backup Nick Foles?

The two likeliest options would be signing A.J. McCarron, the former Bengals backup who was just named an unrestricted free agent through a grievance, or trading for Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor – shoot, the Bills might just release him, but a trade would ensure Arizona gets Taylor. Sam Bradford is another possibility.

You have to worry about injuries for Fitzgerald as he’ll be 35 by Week 1, but the guy stays in great shape and has played all 16 games in 11 of his 14 seasons. His fewest games played was 13 in 2006. Fitz has topped 1,000 yards each of the past three seasons but that six-TD mark just once in the past four.

Arizona’s futures odds surely will change when the QB situation is resolved, but 5Dimes currently gives the team a win total of 6, with the ‘under’ a -140 favorite. So, Fitzgerald is unlikely to get that elusive Super Bowl ring.

Free NFL Picks: Over Yards, Under TDsBest Lines Offered: Bovada
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