Larry Fitzgerald Signs 1-Year Contract, Returns to Cardinals for 17th NFL Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2020

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Make it 17 seasons. It was announced Wednesday that longtime Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald would be returning to the NFL next season, continuing his legendary career. 

The Cardinals announced Fitzgerald signed a one-year contract as he was set to become a free agent in March. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the wideout is expected to return for "roughly the same amount" of money as last year, which was $11 million with incentives.

Fitzgerald later took to his Twitter account to speak on his return for another season:

The 36-year-old has spent his entire career with the Cardinals. He's an 11-time Pro Bowler, a 2008 first-team All-Pro selection and the 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner. He posted five seasons with 100 or more receptions, five seasons with 10 or more touchdowns, and nine seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards. 

He is second all-time in receptions (1,378) and receiving yards (17,083) and sixth all-time in receiving touchdowns (120).

The Pitt product added 57 receptions for 942 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine playoff games. And he's continued to be a solid producer later in his career, registering 75 catches for 804 yards and four scores last season.

Fitzgerald will be an obvious Hall of Famer once he retires and should be a first-ballot selection. And the man who he trails in all-time receptions and receiving yards, Jerry Rice, had nothing but praise for Fitzgerald in December.

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"The hands on this guy are just unbelievable," he said, per Greg Moore of the Arizona Republic. "He doesn't drop the ball."

Rice added that Fitzgerald still had good football left in the tank. 

"This is just Year 16 for him," Rice said before the regular season ended. "I played 20 years. And I think with the game today, I think you're going to see guys playing much longer."

Fitzgerald's teammates agreed.

"I feel like he's got a lot more tread on the tires," running back Kenyan Drake said.

The Minneapolis native is one of the best wide receivers in NFL history and arguably the greatest Cardinals player since the team started playing in Arizona in 1988. The only blemish in his career, if you can call it that, is the lack of a title. The Cardinals came close in Super Bowl XLII, losing 27-23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But returning for a 17th season is his chance to rectify that one missing achievement.

"I feel like there's a lot of things he's accomplished, but he hasn't got that top championship yet," Drake said. "So, I feel like, that's the thing to play for."