Would the Arizona Cardinals trade Larry Fitzgerald?
That is apparently the question asked by the New England Patriots last offseason, as they reportedly looked into the idea in their quest to find a new receiving threat for quarterback Tom Brady.
According to Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet, a source told him the Pats “sent out feelers to gauge the feasibility.”
The source didn’t share the timing of the interest — whether it came before or after Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder, released and jailed is germane — or the level to which talks proceeded. But the source is very well-placed.
Things mustn’t have gotten too far last offseason, otherwise word would have been rampant. As for this offseason? The Patriots’ need remains.
At the time, Fitzgerald was coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, having caught just 71 passes for 798 yards and four touchdowns. The Cardinals won a measly five games, and no one would have blamed the Pro Bowler if he had wanted to move on. But no trade requests were ever reported, thus it was never really a topic of conversation or issue that got explored further.
And now, maybe it won’t be explored at all.
Fitzgerald and the Cardinals rebounded under first-year coach Bruce Arians in 2013, with the veteran catching 82 passes for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns for a 10-win team. Though the Cards failed to reach the postseason, there was plenty of optimism surrounding the team when the regular season came to a close.
Then again, it is likely something will have to be done with Fitzgerald this offseason, at least in terms of his contract. He’s due to count a hefty $18 million against the team’s salary cap, which is a number the organization would probably like to bring down.
But whether or not they’d actually trade the face of their franchise and future Hall of Famer, well, that’s a different story altogether.