Around 17 years ago, the Arizona Cardinals drafted WR Larry Fitzgerald with the third overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. Sometimes, it can be risky drafting a wide receiver that high. Fortunately for the Cardinals, it worked out for the best.
Larry Fitzgerald wound up staying with the Cardinals for each of the 17 seasons in his career so far. He’s only missed nine of a possible 272 games, showing just how reliable he’s been for the organization. As of April 14, he ranks highly among all-time wide receiver records, including:
- Receptions: 1,432 (2nd)
- Receiving yards: 17,492 (2nd)
- Receiving touchdowns: 121 (6th)
While it’s unlikely that Larry Fitzgerald will catch Jerry Rice for first place in most receiving records, he’s still potentially a future Hall-of-Famer. However, have we already seen the last of Fitzgerald on an NFL field? Rumors have circulated this offseason that he’s heavily contemplating retirement. With that being said, BetOnline is favoring that the iconic Cardinals receiver will retire before the 2021 season at -500 odds.
Will Larry Fitzgerald Retire Before the 2021 NFL Season?
Odds via BetOnline as of Wednesday, April 17
- Yes (-500)
- No (+300)
Odds Indicate Retirement for Fitzgerald
At -500, it’s looking like it’s highly possible that Larry Fitzgerald has already played his last NFL game. Although he’s played with a very safe style that’s let him last this long, Fitzgerald’s production dropped off in 2020. For comparison sake, here’s a look at his stats from 2019 and 2020.
- 2019: 16GP, 75 receptions, 804 yards, 4 touchdowns
- 2020: 13GP, 54 receptions, 409 yards, 1 touchdown
Obviously, Larry Fitzgerald played three fewer games in 2020 than he did in 2019, but the point stands that he just wasn’t as productive. His 409 yards were actually a career-low. With the Cardinals having other pass-catchers like DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green, it seems less likely that they’ll need Fitzgerald’s services. At least if he plays like how he did last season.
It’s important to remember that Larry Fitzgerald will also be turning 38 years old in August. It’s very rare for any football player to last that long and when they do, they’re mostly a shell of their former selves.
Even though Fitzgerald has been one of the most consistent wide receivers of all time and nothing but loyal to the Cardinals, the two sides will likely only want to come to another deal if they believe it’s mutually beneficial. If Fitzgerald wants to retire, then that’s the end of that. If he wants to keep playing but the Cardinals don’t think he can contribute, he may have to look elsewhere.
Could Fitzgerald End up on Another Team?
Despite Larry Fitzgerald being a multi-time Pro-Bowler and All-Pro player, one accolade has eluded him his entire career: a Super Bowl title. On the off chance that he wants to continue playing and that the Cardinals don’t want him, Fitzgerald could opt to sign with a contender to chase a Super Bowl. Only a few weeks ago, NBC Sports threw around the possibility of him signing a veteran minimum deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to chase a ring.
The Buccaneers offer Fitzgerald one of the best shots to win Super Bowl 56. They have the second-best odds of winning the championship (+600). It would also give Larry Fitzgerald his first chance to play with Tom Brady. Both men have been consistent presences in the NFL over the last two decades. With Antonio Brown’s departure leaving a hole in the Buccaneers’ offense, the opportunity is there if both sides show mutual interest.