Rumors have been swirling the last few weeks that the New England Patriots are seriously interested in acquiring wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald from the Arizona Cardinals. At first the rumors just seemed like the typical Boston media trumped-up kind of fare, but with news breaking that Fitzgerald is restructuring his contract it seems more and more likely that the Patriots could end up pulling off the blockbuster deal.
Fitzgerald is one of the most talented receivers in the league but has been in quarterback jail the last few years in Arizona. If the Patriots pair him with future Hall of Fame passer Tom Brady, they will immediately have one of the best quarterback/receiver combinations in the NFL.
Getting the deal done will be no easy task. The Cardinals are likely to ask for multiple picks, even multiple first-round picks, in compensation for their best player. The price tag will be high, but considering where the Patriots are in their title contention spectrum they must be willing to sacrifice the future for a shot at a title in the next couple of years.
The main thing that kept the Patriots from being a serious contender this year was the lack of a playmaking receiver. They had nobody the defense had to respect deep down the field, and it showed in the playoffs against a Denver Broncos defense that proved they weren’t exactly a dominant group when they were torn apart by Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Adding Fitzgerald will give the Patriots the weapon they sorely lack. With Brady only having one or two more elite years left in him, the time is now for New England to sell out for one last championship. Once Brady is gone, or simply not capable of carrying them to a title, it won’t matter how many value picks they have left with which to stock the roster.
The Patriots’ championship window isn’t just shrinking — it’s slamming shut on them. They’ve been able to extend it so long by being smart about not over-investing in any one player, but those days are quickly coming to an end.
If the Patriots want to squeeze one more championship out of the Brady era, they must do whatever it takes to get a deal done and bring Fitzgerald to Foxboro.