Larry Fitzgerald was going out of town -- my guess is, at least part of his trip will be to Atlanta to make the rounds at the Super Bowl, but he also was taking some business classes at Harvard -- so Michael Bidwill dropped by his house with a contract to sign. Fitz scribbled his name, and, just like that, we have another year of the eventual Hall of Famer on the field. And that, frankly, is not only good news but important news.
Important because the Cardinals can use a veteran presence on the offensive side of the ball. They can really use that experience in the wide receivers room, which could change drastically over the next few months. Christian Kirk is off to a solid start in the NFL, but he can only be helped working side-by-side with Fitz. Who else might Fitz be working with after free agency? The draft? A Kliff Kingsbury-offense has been receiver-centric.
That's the next step, of course. Fitz fits any offense, but it's hard to get past the notion that a chance to play within something creative offensively had to be intriguing. (I will reiterate, I do not think the coach -- whether it was Kingsbury or anyone else -- really had much of an impact on Fitz deciding to come back or not.) We do not yet know what Kingsbury's NFL offense will look like, with or without Fitz. But it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Fitzgerald would not easily surpass his 69 catches from 2018, assuming QB Josh Rosen takes his expected step forward.
Fitz's return extends beyond the Cardinals in some ways. For an Arizona fanbase that has dealt with struggles of all its pro teams and the loss of Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt in an offseason trade, keeping Fitz around as the lone local iconic sports figure right now (Devin Booker isn't there yet) provides some joy. He not only is the face of the Cardinals' franchise, he is indeed still one of the faces of the NFL -- a notion which, once upon a time, would have been difficult to picture for someone wearing a Cardinals jersey.
Every year, I write about Fitzgerald and his quest to reach No. 2 in catches and yards and how Jerry Rice will forever be No. 1. As it stands, Fitzgerald is still 246 receptions and 6,616 yards shy of Rice's all-time marks. The bet is still somewhat safe to make -- Fitz will be No. 2. But I think back to one of Fitzgerald's postseason press conferences during the 2015 season, when people brought up him catching Tony Gonzalez in receptions and Terrell Owens in yards for No. 2 overall and he insisted he'd never play long enough for that to happen.
Yet here we are.