Larry Fitzgerald is 29 years old this season, and is currently in year one of an eight-year $120 million dollar extension with the Arizona Cardinals. Looking back on the decision to resign with Arizona may have sealed Fitzgerald's fate with a franchise that is struggling to find their marquee quarterback. After Arizona's surprising Super Bowl run in 2008 with legendary quarterback Kurt Warner, they have struggled to find an identity in a division where Seattle and San Francisco have gotten increasingly better. The current quarterback's on Arizona's roster are: Ryan Lindley, John Skelton, Brian Hoyer and Kevin Kolb.
This season, Fitzgerald has 57 receptions for 652 yards and four touchdowns. That puts Fitzgerald barely in the top 50 for receiving yards this season in the NFL, behind multiple tight ends and newcomers Donnie Avery (Indianapolis) and Cecil Shorts (Jacksonville). The top five receiving leaders in the NFL currently are Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. Anyone who follows the National Football League knows that all of those receivers have more than capable quarterbacks that are throwing them the ball. Last year's numbers alone would have Fitzgerald currently in second in front of Marshall. There is no denying his ability as an elite receiver as he is in the prime of his career.
Just to give an idea of how productive Fitzgerald was with Warner at the helm; from 2007-2009, he had 1,409 yards, 1,431 yards and 1,902 yards and eclipsed 10 touchdown receptions or more in all three of those seasons. There wasn't much of a drop off after Warner retired and Fitzgerald continued to post prolific receiving numbers with over 1,400 yards last season as well. But, with a running game that has struggled to find its identity and a quarterback controversy, it has been easy for defenses to frustrate Fitzgerald on a weekly basis.
Arizona started the season 4-0, and looked like the surprising team early in the season. That quickly came crashing down though as they have lost nine straight since their 4-0 start. The Cardinals rank 28th in passing yards per game (190 ypg),and 32nd in the league in rushing yards (78 ypg). Andre Roberts currently has more receiving yards and touchdowns than Fitzgerald does, and both Kolb and Skelton have combined for a measly 10 touchdown passes over 13 games. It has certainly been a far cry from the production Fitzgerald is used to, and if management doesn't make a move soon to bring someone in either through the draft, a trade or free agency, Fitzgerald's frustration level could quickly become a concern heading into next season.
Rookie Ryan Lindley is slated to start this coming weekend against Detroit, and has zero touchdowns, five interceptions and a 42.6 NFL passer rating heading into the game. Fitzgerald has only been targeted 37 times over the Cardinals past four games with six receptions. Fitzgerald has held his head high so far as the season has taken a tail spin, and is one of the more mature, upstanding athletes in the NFL. Week in and week out he goes out and gives it his all, and has been very professional in the midst of not having a Fitzgeraldesque season thus far. It just has been hard to see such an amazingly talented athlete currently suffering through some embarrassing losses. Hopefully for his and head coach Ken Whisenhunt's sake (and job) they can bring in a capable quarterback heading into next year.