Every year, the Cardinals offseason begins earlier than hoped and one question leaps to the front of the offseason line: Is Larry coming back?
Larry Fitzgerald just wrapped up his 17th year in the NFL and is enterting the offseason at the ripe old age of 37. We’ve been asking this question and dancing this same exact dance since Larry was 33.
Here’s how it has gone like clockwork ever year: Season ends, Larry deflects questions about his future, media and fans speculate, Larry pops up that the Waste Management Phoenix Open and deflects, more speculation, some conversation about how much Larry likes to travel and then Fitz quietly announces he’s coming back.
This year has followed a very similar script. Yesterday at the WMPO, Larry answer questions about his future with the usual surgical deflection.
Here’s where the script changes this year. Instead of dissecting every answer and reading between every line to find any easter egg of a hint, I think we need to ask a new question.
Do we want Larry to come back?
Thats not a leading question. Its an honest one. We’ve never had any reason to ask this question. Every other year, Larry could name his price and come back to rightfully claim his place in the Cardinals WR hierarchy.
And to reiterate, this question should not be read as: "Do you love Larry Fitzgerald?" or "Do you root for Larry Fitzgerald?" or "Do you appreciate Larry Fitzgerald?"
Are there conditions to Fitz returning? Would you want Fitz back at his $11 million standard fee? The Cardinals have paid Larry $11 million dollars on a one year deal every year for the last four seasons.
Would you pay him that for 2021? Would you want to ask Fitz to take a pay cut? Would you be willing to pay Larry $6-8 million next year, which would seem like a logical place to land. Willie Snead and Breshard Perriman made $6 million last year so that would be the lowest you would think about paying a legend like Fitz who is still capable of producing.
Would you want to see if Fitz can regain his 2019 form instead of his 2020 form? Would you want to hold your breath every game when Larry doesn’t have a catch and it's the third quarter?
My answer to every one of these questions is “Yes.” If Larry wants to play next year, I want Larry playing next year. I’d pay him whatever it takes. You can easily find more money that is misspent every year by the Cardinals than spending it on Larry Fitzgerald
I try not to take for granted having a front row seat to ALL TIME greatness. Every game, every catch and every opportunity to watch Larry Fitzgerald has real value.
But that answer, for the first time in this ongoing offseason drama, may not be unanimous for everyone.
One thing that is the same, we’re just going to have to wait and see.