|ADP:||Round: 14, Pick: 3|
|Ht / Wt:||6'3" / 218 lb.|
|Born:||August 31, 1983|
|Drafted:||2004 / Rd. 1 (3)|
Fitzgerald re-signed Wednesday with the Cardinals on a one-year deal, Darren Urban of the team's official site reports.
Analysis: After taking a couple weeks off to contemplate his future in the NFL, the 36-year-old Fitzgerald ultimately elected to return to the desert for his 17th season. Though the future Hall of Famer isn't much of a downfield threat these days, he proved to be a competent safety valve for rookie quarterback Kyler Murray in 2019, hauling in 75 receptions for 804 yards and four touchdowns across 109 targets over 16 games. Expect Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk to serve as Options 1A and 1B in some order in Arizona's high-volume passing attack in 2020.
Fitzgerald secured four of seven targets for 45 receiving yards during Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Rams.
Analysis: The 36-year-old Fitzgerald is perhaps Arizona's all-time face of the franchise, and deservedly so, with 17,073 receiving yards, 120 touchdowns, 11 Pro Bowl nominations and a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to his name. Though his locker room influence is undeniable within the youthful Cardinals organization, Fitzgerald has seen his statistical production drop off over the past two seasons, averaging 72 catches, 769 receiving yards and five TDs between 2017 and 2018 after putting up 108 catches, 1,131 yard and seven TDs per year between 2015 and 2017. It remains undetermined as to whether Fitzgerald will return for a 17th NFL campaign, but if he does, the decorated veteran would likely serve as Arizona's No. 1 or 2 option at wide receiver in a second season under the Kliff Kingsbury-Kyler Murray regime.
Fitzgerald caught four of seven targets for 48 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 27-13 win over the Seahawks.
Analysis: The veteran receiver continues to have a low ceiling when it comes to yardage -- he's topped 60 yards in only one of the last nine games -- but the slow-and-steady pace has gotten him over 17,000 receiving yards for his career, making Fitzgerald only the second player in NFL history to reach that mark after Jerry Rice. There are other milestones he could try to reach -- Fitzgerald is 26 receptions shy of 1,400 and eight receiving TDs behind Marvin Harrison's 128 for fifth all-time -- but there's a good chance he'll be playing the final game of his Hall of Fame career next week against the Rams.
Fitzgerald caught three of five targets for 42 yards in Sunday's 38-24 win over the Browns.
Analysis: Fitzgerald trailed only Damiere Byrd for Arizona's team lead in receiving yards and targets, but still produced pretty tame totals. Considering the veteran has topped 50 yards just six times so far, however, Fitzgerald's Sunday output was nothing new. Nonetheless, he'll remain a main option for Kyler Murray in the Cardinals' final two games of the season, which come on the road against the Seahawks and Rams.
Fitzgerald caught three of seven targets for 20 receiving yards during Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Steelers.
Analysis: The 11-time Pro Bowl receiver has typically capitalized this season when afforded a high-volume target share, as prior to Week 14 he had averaged 6.3 catches and 72.4 yards per game when thrown to at least seven times in a given outing. Fitzgerald carries a streak of four consecutive games with at least five targets, as Arizona gets set for a Week 15 matchup against a Cleveland defense that ranks top 10 in the NFL in terms of passing yards allowed per game (217.8), but just middle-tier in total passing touchdowns surrendered (20).
Fitzgerald caught six of seven targets for 56 yards in Sunday's 34-7 loss to the Rams.
Analysis: The veteran receiver led the team in catches and yards on a day when the entire Cards offense struggled. It's only the second time in the last six games Fitzgerald has hauled in more than 50 yards, a decline largely due to lower volume -- he's averaged only 5.2 targets a game over that stretch, a far cry from the double-digit passes he was seeing to begin the year. That trend doesn't figure to reverse itself in Week 14 against a stingy Steelers defense.
Fitzgerald caught all five of his targets for 37 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 36-26 loss to the 49ers.
Analysis: The Cards' passing game didn't gain a lot of real estate -- Christian Kirk led the team with only 41 receiving yards -- but Fitzgerald bolstered his production with his first TD since Week 3. The future Hall of Famer is little more than a possession receiver at age 36, but Fitzgerald continues to provide rookie quarterback Kyler Murray with a reliable target, and he's on pace for at least 80 catches for the 11th time in his career.
Fitzgerald caught six of eight targets for 69 yards in Sunday's 34-33 win over the Falcons.
Analysis: The yardage led all Cards on the afternoon, while Fitzgerald tied David Johnson in catches and targets. The veteran receiver remains the most reliable option Kyler Murray has, giving him a stable fantasy floor -- Fitzgerald has caught at least five passes in every game so far in 2019.
Fitzgerald caught six of eight targets for 58 yards in Sunday's 26-23 win over the Bengals.
Analysis: He led all Cardinals in targets once again, but Fitzgerald's longest grab went for only 17 yards and he failed to top 60 receiving yards for the third straight game. He remains Kyler Murray's most reliable option, but until the rookie QB becomes more consistent, Fitzgerald's fantasy utility in shallower formats will largely depend on whether he can find the end zone.
Fitzgerald caught all five of his targets for 47 receiving yards, while passing Tony Gonzalez for second all-time in receptions during Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Seahawks.
Analysis: Fitzgerald is a legendary talent and ambassador of the game, having earned 11 Pro Bowl nods, a Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and now only looking up at Jerry Rice for most catches in NFL history. With Fitzgerald sitting at 1,326 receptions, and Rice's mark at 1,549, it certainly would be a tall order for the Cardinals legend to become the all-time leader from his current age of 36 -- but it would be foolish to bet resolutely against Fitzgerald. He is back to being a fantasy producer after a downtrodden 2018 in which he only logged 69 receptions for 734 yards, as he is currently on pace to account for 92 receptions, 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns if his first quarter regular-season stats were to be extrapolated out to 16 games. Upcoming in Week 5, he and the Cardinals receiving corps will face a Bengals defense that has allowed a shade under 270 passing yards per game since the start of last season.
Fitzgerald caught five of seven targets for 36 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 38-20 loss to the Panthers.
Analysis: After seeing 24 targets through the first two weeks, Fitzgerald saw his volume drop in this one as Kyler Murray rarely had enough time to let plays develop before having to flee from the Panthers pass rush. The veteran receiver is still off to a fantastic start in Kliff Kingsbury's high-octane offense, catching 18 passes for 253 yards and two TDs through three games.
Fitzgerald caught five of 11 targets for 104 yards during Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Ravens.
Analysis: It's a renaissance in the desert for Fitzgerald, who now has back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time since, believe it or not, Weeks 2 and 3 of 2015. More than half of Fitzgerald's Sunday yardage came on a deep shot off play action early in the third quarter in which the veteran made a sliding catch and rallied to his feet to pick up extra yardage for a gain of 54. Fitzgerald has been bogged down in recent seasons by inconsistent quarterback play. The strong start by Kyler Murray and pass-first approach of head coach Kliff Kingsbury looks to be leading to a return to the old Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald caught eight of 13 targets for 113 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 27-27 tie with the Lions.
Analysis: Fitzgerald easily led the team in receiving yardage while also pacing them in targets and receptions. He was at his best in the biggest moments of the game, scoring his touchdown with mere seconds left in regulation and adding a crucial 45-yard reception in overtime. Fitzgerald's big game likely comes as a mild surprise to fantasy owners who were skeptical about Kyler Murray's play, but it was a notable performance nonetheless. With that said, he could struggle to replicate this production in next Sunday's road matchup with the Ravens.
Fitzgerald has recorded two catches (on four targets) for six yards through the Cardinals' first three preseason games.
Analysis: Fitzgerald got in a decent amount of reps with rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, racking up 36 offensive snaps in those contests. Although his production is underwhelming, new coach Kliff Kingsbury has admitted the Cardinals have been utilizing a vanilla offense during exhibition season. Once the Air Raid is unleashed Week 1 and beyond, Fitzgerald figures to be a favorite target of Murray, but it remains to be seen if he'll remain on his perch as the clear No. 1 receiver in Arizona's offense, as he has been for much of his Hall-of-Fame worthy career.
Fitzgerald gathered in his only target for one yard while playing the Cardinals' first possession during Thursday's preseason win versus the Chargers.
Analysis: Fitzgerald was among five Cardinals targeted by rookie quarterback Kyler Murray on a drive that ended in an Andy Lee punt. There's little question Fitzgerald will be one of Murray's favorite options in the passing attack, but as he approaches his age-36 season it remains to be seen if he'll remain the No. 1 receiver in the offense. Fitzgerald's primary competition for looks includes second-year wideout Christian Kirk and do-it-all running back David Johnson, but a number of players will be vying for the remaining one or two skill-position spots to be featured in the Air Raid under new coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Fitzgerald was active for the entire offseason program, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports.
Analysis: Aside from mandatory minicamp, every stage of the offseason program is "voluntary," whether it's the aptly named voluntary minicamp in April to OTAs that extend from May into June. As a 15-year veteran, Fitzgerald wouldn't be blamed for missing certain workouts or practices, but with a new coaching staff in place and greenhorn signal-caller under center, he was at the Cardinals' facility from Day 1 on April 8 through the final drill on June 12. It's unclear what the offense will look like under Kliff Kingsbury, but shades of the Air Raid and its uptempo, pass-happy attack are expected. And with first overall pick Kyler Murray transitioning to the pro game, the ever-reliable Fitzgerald figures to be looked at early and often. The hope is a return to his 100-catch, 1,000-yard campaigns from 2015-2017, but do-it-all back David Johnson, second-year wideout Christian Kirk and a bevy of young receivers likely will eat into Fitzgerald's target share.
The one-year extension Fitzgerald agreed to with the Cardinals on Wednesday will include a $4.85 million signing bonus in addition to a $11 million base salary, Field Yates of ESPN reports.
Analysis: The $15.85 million commitment represents Fitzgerald's largest annual payday since 2012, so it's perhaps not too surprising that he elected to delay retirement by at least one more year. Though Fitzgerald finished 2018 with 69 receptions for 734 yards -- his lowest totals in both categories for any season in which he played 16 games -- the Cardinals are optimistic that the veteran's numbers will bounce back while signal-caller Josh Rosen benefits from the tutelage of new coach Kliff Kingsbury, who oversaw consistently productive passing attacks during his tenure at Texas Tech. In addition to some expected growth from Rosen, Fitzgerald's prospects would improve further if young receivers Christian Kirk (foot) and Trent Sherfield can make strides in their second seasons and take some of the opposing defenses' attention away from the future Hall of Famer.
Fitzgerald is signing a one-year contract to play for the Cardinals in 2019, Darren Urban of the team's official website reports.
Analysis: Fitzgerald will return for at least one more season to work with second-year quarterback Josh Rosen and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The veteran is coming off a career-low 734 yards in his age-35 campaign, though he still led Arizona in every major receiving category. Armed with cap space as well as the first pick in each round of the upcoming draft, the Cardinals surely will prioritize upgrades on their dreadful offensive line to give Rosen, Fitzgerald, David Johnson and Christian Kirk (foot) a better chance at success under the new coaching staff. Kingsbury was known for his pass-heavy Air Raid offenses at Texas Tech and likely will install a scheme that's more aggressive than what the Cardinals ran under Mike McCoy and Byron Leftwich in 2019. There's legitimate hope for a rebound in Fitzgerald's age-36 campaign, as he has already proven himself capable of beating defenses without the help of speed. He had three consecutive seasons with triple-digit receptions and more than 1,000 yards prior to 2018.
Fitzgerald has yet to make a decision on his playing status for the 2019 season, ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: In the previous two offseasons, Fitzgerald announced his intentions to return in February, so he seems to be following a similar schedule this time around. Although he gutted out a 16-game slate for a fourth consecutive campaign and 12th time in 15 seasons, the 35-year-old's production suffered due to hamstring and back injuries in the first half of 2018 and generally underwhelming quarterback play from the trio of Josh Rosen, Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. Overall, Fitzgerald mustered his third-fewest catches (69), lowest number of receiving yards (734) and six touchdowns in the Cardinals' league-worst offense. Whether or not he signs up for another year remains to be seen, but Rosen will be in his second season, and the team hired offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury from the college ranks, so Fitzgerald may be inspired to roll the dice yet again.
Fitzgerald caught four of nine targets, logging 36 yards and one touchdown during Sunday's 27-24 loss to Seattle.
Analysis: Fitzgerald's workload was generally consistent throughout his 15th pro campaign, as he led the Cardinals receiving corps in targets in 12 of 16 games this season. Despite a sluggish start in which he failed to exceed 80 receiving yards or record a touchdown through Week 6, Fitzgerald finished the season with a respectable 10 double-digit PPR outings. He finished as WR4 in 2017 with just two more double-digit performances than he did this season, but last year he was boosted tremendously by six showings of 90-plus receiving yards (he only once hit that mark in 2018). A tremendous player and noble face of the franchise, Fitzgerald's services will certainly be desired by Arizona so long as he elects to continue his pro playing career.
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