The “bring Larry home” bandwagon has been extra raucous this offseason.
Arizona Cardinals veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a Minneapolis native, remains a free agent this offseason and is contemplating the next step of his career approaching his 38th birthday this summer.
Minnesota Vikings fan sites annually pitch the idea of bringing Fitzgerald back to the team where he realized his NFL dreams as a ball boy for the Vikings. Fitzgerald has taken his career step-by-step, signing single-year deals with the Cardinals every year since 2016.
However, he’s never taken this long into the offseason to make his next move. Local Cardinals media has taken the lag in his decision as a sign he could be considering moving on from Arizona.
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Fitzgerald Likely Won’t Return to Cardinals
The Arizona Republic’s Jeremy Cluff weighed the mounting speculation surrounding Fitzgerald’s decision and found Minnesota at the epicenter.
“If [Fitzgerald] were to decide to play for another NFL team, the Vikings certainly would be an intriguing option,” Cluff wrote. “Fitzgerald is from Minnesota and his father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., is a long-time sports reporter there. It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals wide receiver in another uniform, but if it were to happen, a Vikings uniform would make a lot of sense.”
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio detailed the Cardinals’ spending at the wide receiver position and projected that Fitzgerald has been phased out of Arizona.
“The door seems to be closed on Fitzgerald in Arizona. The signing of receiver A.J. Green, which essentially gives him Fitzgerald’s spot behind DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk, seemed to seal it,” Florio wrote. “Even if the Cardinals would opt to have four receivers who don’t participate in special teams, the Cardinals seem to have too much money tied up in the position, between Hopkins’ top-of-market contract and the one-year deal given to Green.”
A surge in betting on Fitzgerald’s odds of retiring, which skyrocketed to -250 (a probability of 71.4%), followed Florio’s report.
However, Florio wasn’t willing to count out the ageless wonder. While Minnesota remains a strong option, there is one other team that could offer Fitzgerald even more intrigue than coming home.
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Tampa Bay or Minnesota
While Fitzgerald has plenty of sentimental ties in Minnesota, he has equally as many professional ties to the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Multiple tentacles connect Fitzgerald to the Buccaneers. Bruce Arians coached Fitzgerald and the Cardinals for five years,” Florio wrote. “Byron Leftwich was an offensive assistant in Arizona. Receivers coach Kevin Garver had that same role with the Cardinals; his online profile with the Bucs specifically touts his work with Fitzgerald.”
The intrigue of making one last chase for a ring could outweigh the appeal of coming home, however, the Vikings shouldn’t be counted out as a possible postseason contender either.
Regardless of where Fitzgerald lands, his final year in the league is a simple footnote on his illustrious 17-year career: playing in 263 games, grabbing 1,432 receptions for 17,492 yards and 121 touchdowns as a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.