The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Larry Fitzgerald Is Worth Every Penny

Its official: Larry Fitzgerald is coming back.

And according to reports, he's going to earn $11 million plus incentives for his 17th professional season.

Per, in 2019 Larry Fitzgerald was the 13th highest paid wide receiver in football. He had 75 catches for 804 yards and 4 TD's, leading the Cardinals in all three categories.

Some Cardinals fans wanted a discount from Fitz to help create even more cap flexibility going into the offseason.

Is Fitz overpaid based on production on the field alone? Maybe. He is not the 13th best WR in football at this stage of his career. But does he deserve to be in the same ballpark as Marquise Lee and Devin Funchess, who made around $10 million last year? 100%

But here's the truth: if the Cardinals really want to save money and improve their spending power, there are LOTS of different ways to save money other than low balling the greatest player in franchise history.

They paid Michael Crabtree more than $2 million dollars for 30 snaps and four catches this year.

They paid DJ Swearinger, Terrell Suggs and Darious Philion a couple of million to not play for the team.

They may be willing to pay David Johnson nearly 10 million alone to play somewhere else next year.

If this was a team that had ever shown an ability to maximize its cap space and shrewdly use it to build a winner, maybe there's a better argument to be made for drawing a line in the sand with a 37 year old wide receiver.

But that's not the Cardinals. The Cardinals are your buddy who has lost everything betting on micro stocks and long shot startups. Investing in Larry Fitzgerald is one of the sanest things they can actually do.

And its not charity, either. Fitz remains an integral part of their offense whether they draft a WR at #8 overall or spend top dollar on a free agent.

How many games did we all yell at the TV or in stadium for the Cardinals to feed Fitz more often? How many drives were ignited with Larry making a spectacular catch sending an emotional charge through every Cardinals coach, player and fan?

The man still has it.

And he's chasing something more important than just history; he's chasing the national validation that has eluded him for most of his career.

Fitz needs 172 catches to catch Jerry Rice's all time receptions today. He needs 32 consecutive games with a catch to break Rice's consecutive games with a catch streak.

He's on track to do both in 2021. He's averaged 94 catches per season over the last 5 years and hasn't missed a game in five seasons.

Catching and passing the GOAT of football GOAT's in Jerry Rice would finally bring the career recognition that most outside of Phoenix have failed to give Larry Fitzgerald through his career.

Plus, Fitz coming back effectively acts as a ringing endorsement for Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. Had he walked away now, no matter his explanation, it likely would have led to rumblings that he didn't believe in the offense and simply didn't want to risk further physical wear and tear.

Instead, Fitz decided this was a party he wasn't willing to leave early.

In the end, it comes down to this: How could the Cardinals possibly over pay for Larry Fitzgerald when his value to this organization and community is priceless?

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