We’re less than a week away from the 2021 NFL Draft kicking off, and legendary receiver Larry Fitzgerald has yet to announced whether he plans to retire or return for an 18th season with the Arizona Cardinals.
Fitzgerald has declined to state his intentions multiple times this offseason, and the Cards are in no hurry for an answer.
A return would make the Cards WR group one of the oldest in the league, headlined by DeAndre Hopkins, newly signed A.J. Green, fourth-year pro Christian Kirk, Fitzgerald and 2019 second-round pick Andy Isabella.
If Fitzgerald ends his Hall of Fame career, it could make WR one of the positions GM Steve Keim adds depth to during next week’s draft.
“No matter what Larry decides, it does not affect our draft plans,” Keim said Thursday, via the team’s official website. “To me, you can’t have enough good players at one position.”
The Cardinals sit with the No. 16 overall pick and just six selections overall after trading away their third and fourth-rounders in swaps for Hopkins and center Rodney Hudson. Keim quipped that the use of the two pics on stud veterans is pretty good value.
“I don’t know if any of you have graded those picks, but I feel very good about those spots,” he joked.
Missing mid-round picks — likely the area where he’d target any receiver addition regardless of Fitzgerald’s decision — could be added if the Cards trade back in the first round. Keim doesn’t plan to chase one of the top WR talents or any other position by selling more draft capital to move up.
“Where we’re sitting, I think it would be more likely to trade back than to trade up,” Keim said. “As far as trading back and accumulating more picks, (the draft) is no different than a lottery ticket. The more you have, the better chance you have to hit.”
With top needs at corner, tight end, and defensive interior — a position weak in this year’s draft — trading back would make sense, but finding a trade partner at that point in the selection process could prove difficult.
As to Fitzgerald’s decision, coach Kliff Kingsbury said he hasn’t even talked to the all-time-great about it.
“My communication with Larry has literally consisted of golf, investments or Phoenix Suns basketball,” Kingsbury said. “Larry is going to decide this on his time.”
Until then, we wait.
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