Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald on track to break one of biggest records in 2018
Jun 3, 2018, 9:57 AM | Updated: 1:35 pm
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
It was arguably the biggest news for the Arizona Cardinals this offseason: Larry Fitzgerald is returning for the 2018 season.
The news broke back in February, when Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks announced Fitzgerald’s return on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf during Newsmakers Week.
Aside from the face of the franchise returning for another season, it meant Arizona’s receiving core would again be lead by a veteran Pro Bowler who holds numerous records.
And according to ESPN, Fitzgerald is on track to break one of the NFL’s biggest records during the 2018 season.
The 34-year-old is 92 receptions away from surpassing Tony Gonzalez(1,325) for the second-most in NFL history, and is only 389 yards short of Terrell Owens (15,934) for second on the all-time receiving yards list.
Although Fitzgerald will be 35 years old when the season kicks off, there is no reason to doubt him. He has at least 107 receptions and 1,023 yards in each of the past three seasons, giving him 1,234 and 15,545 over his stellar 14-year career.
He still needs a telescope to see Jerry Rice, who ranks No. 1 on both lists with 1,549 career receptions and a ridiculous 22,895 receiving yards.
Fitzgerald owns the NFL record for the most seasons with 90 or more receptions (eight). He also has the record for most receptions (30), receiving yards (546) and touchdowns (eight) in one postseason.
Injuries along the offensive line and to quarterback Carson Palmer derailed Arizona’s offense last season, causing a below-average outing for Fitzgerald with 109 catches for 1,156 yards.
However, Fitzgerald became only the second player in league history to post at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards seasons in back-to-back-to-back campaigns beyond the age of 30.
Drafted third overall by the Cardinals in the 2004 NFL Draft, Fitzgerald has caught a pass from 17 different quarterbacks over the course of his career in Arizona. And with Palmer now retired, that list will continue to grow in 2018.
The Cardinals signed free agents Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon this offseason, as well as drafted their future franchise quarterback in Josh Rosen.
Along with new quarterbacks under center, Fitzgerald will have more help on the outside next season.
J.J. Nelson returns after catching 48 percent of his targets last season, trailing only Fitzgerald who reeled in 68 percent of the balls thrown his way.
Second-round pick Christian Kirk adds speed and a big-play ability to the receiving core, while former Dallas Cowboy Brice Butler is ready for an expanded role in Arizona’s offense.
Opposing teams will have to account for the added depth to Arizona’s receivers group, which could prove to be helpful for Fitzgerald on his quest to move up the rankings.