Matt York/Associated Press
If Larry Fitzgerald is available, the Patriots should do everything possible—and even a few things bordering on impossible—to go get him. Period. End of story.
There’s been a lot of chatter in New England lately that the Patriots kicked the tires on him last season, according to Tom Curran of CSN New England, before ultimately going in a different direction. It’s time to give him another look.
I’m sure Arizona’s asking price will be high. It should be. Fitzgerald remains one of the very best, most complete wide receivers in the NFL today. If not for the turnstile of atrocious quarterbacks spinning through the desert before and after Kurt Warner, he’d likely be considered among the best to ever play.
He’ll be 31 next season, so the tread on his tires in thinner than it was a few years ago, but he’s still got plenty of miles left before he breaks down. The fact that burgeoning NFL studs annually train with him to take their game to the next level speaks volumes.
Cleveland’s Josh Gordon made his first Pro Bowl this season, and to stay at the top of his game he’ll be training with—you guessed it—Fitzgerald.
Per Cleveland.com, Gordon received an invite from Fitzgerald when the two met at the Pro Bowl. Still on his rookie contract, Gordon could set himself up for a massive payday with another outstanding season. Therefore it’s no surprise he plans to take Fitzgerald up on his offer, saying, “I’ve got to go. It’s going to be fun. It will be in the summer time and help get ready for training camp and hopefully tear it up this season.”
That Fitzgerald’s peers hold him such high regard is a testament not only to his talents as a receiver, but his leadership and willingness to mentor younger receivers hoping to follow in his footsteps. These are the best players in the world, and they turn to Fitzgerald to help make them better.
When all’s said and done Fitzgerald could easily rank among the top five all time in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He career mark of 72.9 yards per game already ranks 12th all-time.
Perhaps even more impressively, Fitzgerald has missed a grand total of four games during his 10-year career.
You think Tom Brady might enjoy having that kind of reliable, prolific receiver in the huddle next to—or in some weeks instead of—the oft-injured Danny Amendola? You think young receivers like Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce might benefit from seeing Fitzgerald’s work ethic and passion for the game firsthand?
This isn’t a malcontent like Randy Moss or Terrell Owens, neither of whom were ever accused of being very good mentors. This is Larry Fitzgerald, perhaps the most universally respected player in the entire league and one of the great ambassadors of the game.
He is a weapon on the field and in the locker room. If the Patriots have an opportunity to acquire him, they need to take it. If they truly had an opportunity last season and passed it up, shame on them.