By Nick Shook
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Larry Fitzgerald opened his NFL Network appearance on Sunday by joking he was trying to get Kurt Warner to return for a couple of more years under center.
What Arizona ends up doing at quarterback could go a long way toward determining Fitzgerald’s future.
“I’m excited about what the future holds,” Fitzgerald said of the Cardinals during his appearance on NFL GameDay Morning. “Obviously there are things that still need to happen in terms of personnel, draft and things like that that help our team improve. But I’m confident that Steve Keim is doing a good job with that.”
It’s good news for Cardinals fans that Fitzgerald expressed a strong belief that Keim will field a competitive team in 2018. The executive’s track record suggests that will be the case, but he’s facing his first season without a clear-cut starter at quarterback, which is obviously very important to Fitzgerald. While the receiver’s tone was encouraging, he gave a peculiar timeline for his decision.
“I haven’t made any definitive decisions,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ll be ready in about a week or two.”
Keim isn’t finding Arizona’s next starting quarterback in a week or two, making that deadline unrealistic. There is the possibility, though, of Fitzgerald speaking with Keim in the next week or two and learning the franchise’s plans for approaching the offseason, which could include pursuit of Kirk Cousins.
In that instance, it sounds as though Fitzgerald could be convinced to stick around. New coach Steve Wilks has already publicly declared the team wants him back, and Fitzgerald’s father said on Thursday if his son returns, it’s only with the Cardinals. The stars appear to be aligning, as long as Fitzgerald can be convinced he isn’t returning for a plunge into the NFL’s cellar.
The receiver definitely still has plenty of football in him. Fitzgerald looked much like he has for the majority of his career in 2017, posting another 100-plus-reception, 1,000-plus-yard season despite Arizona riding a roller coaster to an 8-8 finish. If he comes anywhere near what he’s done in every season of his career, he’ll move into No. 2 all-time in receiving yards in 2018.
Good Morning Football‘s Kyle Brandt wasn’t kidding when he said Fitzgerald could play “another five years” if he wanted. He’ll rightfully want a better quarterback than Drew Stanton to finish off his career, which still holds plenty of promise, even at 34 years old. The ball is in the Cardinals‘ court.