Larry Fitzgerald is the Arizona Cardinals’ most well-paid player, with the receiver earning big bucks since signing an eight-year, $120 million contract in August of 2011.
Pricey, but fair for one of the best receivers in the game.
Except, last season he wasn’t. Or, at the very least, the team around him held him back.
Fitzgerald caught just 71 passes for 798 yards and four touchdowns. It’s his lowest reception total since 2006, the fewest yards he’s gained since his rookie season and the worst TD mark of his career.
Combine that lack of production with his hefty paycheck, and the folks at ProFootballFocus.com, courtesy of an ESPN Insider piece, say Fitz is one of the most overvalued players in the NFL.
Sometimes you just have to blame a team. The Cardinals invested heavily in Fitzgerald, yet they haven’t put the talent around him to make full use of their marquee receiver. In years past Fitzgerald has been able to overcome that, but this season appeared to be something of a breaking point. He caught just 48 percent of balls thrown his way (eighth-lowest of all receivers) and dropped 6.58 percent of catchable balls (his highest rate since we started tracking in 2008).
While tough to hear it’s not exactly unbelievable, as even the best receiver is not as useful if the team can’t get him the ball.
But does that mean the Cardinals should look to move their top wideout? Not really, though it reaffirms what we already knew: They need to change some things if they’re going to get a proper return on their investment.