It seems as though the national media has been trying to get Larry Fitzgerald out of Arizona pretty much since the time everyone realized he was an outstanding football player.
So then perhaps it should come as no surprise that, as the NFL’s trade deadline approaches, there are some who think the Cardinals should look into dealing their franchise player.
In the midst of a second consecutive down season, the 30-year-old has just 32 receptions for 422 yards and four touchdowns. Hamstring issues have hindered him, but a prevailing thought is the team surrounding him — offensive line, running backs, quarterback — are holding him back even more.
Hence, the desire to see him leave, which is why ESPN.com’s Greg Garber, as part of a series proposing “five explosive, albeit unlikely, hypothetical deals” has one sending Fitz to the Green Bay Packers.
His proposal? Fitzgerald in exchange for Green Bay’s 2014 second round pick, running back Jonathan Franklin and receiver Jordy Nelson.
Fitzgerald is 30 years old, and he deserves another a shot at Super Bowl ring. He has produced the goods. In nine-plus seasons in the desert air, he’s caught nearly 800 passes for 10,000-plus yards and 81 touchdowns.
Full disclosure: Fitzgerald, in the wake of his recent megadeal, will see his base salary rocket to $12.75 million in 2014 — and his salary-cap hit will be an astounding $18 million. Clearly, the Packers would have some work to do, but as luck (and some good, earnest work in the trenches) would have it, they reportedly have the most space (an estimated $10 million) of any elite team in the league. The Packers’ Ted Thompson hates to give up draft choices, but this one might be worth it.
The Cards would get a promising young running back and a proven receiver to help fill the void left by Fitzgerald, and the resulting slide down the standings would allow them finally to get their hands on a legitimate quarterback in the draft.
Now, it’s difficult to envision the Cardinals parting with Fitzgerald, as the backlash for such a move would be harsh and there would almost certainly be a considerable drop in the team’s talent level with him gone. However, there may very well come a point where both the team and player decide it would be best to go their separate ways, as the future Hall of Famer may want one more shot at a Super Bowl while the Cardinals, perhaps still a few years away from contending, could hasten the rebuilding process with a trade.
And whether or not Garber’s proposal would interest either side is not known, but there is little doubt that if the Cardinals do decide to trade Fitzgerald, the offers would be vast and bountiful.