Looking at another season without making the playoffs, it seems the Arizona Cardinals are seriously considering trading Larry Fitzgerald, possibly even this season before the trade deadline expires, although it’s most likely going to be during the offseason for the 2014 season, with teams like the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins waiting for developments.
It’s not that Fitzgerald isn’t playing well: He’s recovering quite well from a down season that mostly had to do with a terrible quarterback situation in Arizona, catching 36 passes for 470 yards and 5 touchdowns, including another touchdown in the win over the Falcons. Things aren’t that great in Arizona right now as well – Carson Palmer is a turnover machine while the running game hasn’t really opened up things for him downfield, but even with disappointing starting conditions, Fitzgerald is putting up an impressive body of work.
His cap hit turns into $18 million next season, which is a number no team wants to pay their wide receiver, even if he still might be the best in the NFL, only without the numbers to show for it. The Cardinals can save over $8 million if they trade him, although reworking the contract in order for him to stay or simply become more affordable for more than a handful of teams around the NFL is also an option they might pursue.
The Colts might be on top of the list to reach out to the Cardinals if Fitzgerald is indeed available. Reggie Wayne just tore his ACL, and with him turning 36 next season, Andrew Luck needs a prolific target to throw at. The Colts aren’t afraid to mortgage their future for now, so going for Fitzgerald doesn’t sound too far fetched.
The Eagles might also go for Fitzgerald next season, but that probably depends on who their quarterback is. If it’s not Michael Vick, it becomes more and more likely they’ll at least try and bring Fitzgerald to join their high powered offense, which seems to be struggling at the moment.
The Chicago Bears have plenty of free agents next season, meaning they will have the cap space to bring Fitzgerald over, although it will depend on how much they believe in Alshon Jeffery. If he’s really as good as they think he can be, there’s no point in adding Fitzgerald’s contract to the salary folder.
Last but not least are the Washington Redskins, who’ll be free of their NFL-imposed salary-cap penalties next season. Dan Snyder loves big names, which means it won’t be surprising to see him trying to make a move and unite Robert Griffin III with a prime-time receiver.