You probably read this title and immediately wondered if I have any knowledge about the Green Bay Packers and this sport as a whole.
First off, it would certainly be a very shocking move. But Larry Fitzgerald coming out of retirement to play with his old friend Aaron Rodgers isn’t as absurd as you would think.
Before retiring after the 2020 season, Fitzgerald had a Hall-of-Fame career with the Arizona Cardinals. The 11-time Pro Bowler and member of the NFL’s 100th Anniversary Team had over 17,000 receiving yards on over 1,400 receptions along with 121 receiving touchdowns.
He spent all 17 career seasons in Arizona. He set a lot of records during his historic career. He has the most NFL seasons with 90+ receptions (eight).
His 2008 postseason run was one of the great stretches in NFL history as he set records in receptions for one postseason (30), receiving yards for one postseason (546), and most touchdown receptions for one postseason (seven).
Fitzgerald is the oldest player to record a 100-reception, 1,000-yard, 5+ touchdown season (three straight years from 2015-17). Oh, and don’t forget that he is second all-time in career receptions and career receiving yards. He was an absolute machine in Arizona.
However, Fitzgerald is going to be 39 in August. That could be an issue.
But “Larry Legend” has proved time and time again that age is just a number. At age 34, he led the entire NFL in receptions in 2016. He has played a full season in 13 of his 17 career NFL years. His career-low in catches is 54, which is ridiculous.
That came in his final season with Arizona in 2020, and that was with him missing three games. The addition of All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins and the emergence of a deep threat in Christian Kirk played a role too. But Fitzgerald has been consistent throughout his entire career.
The Packers could benefit from his greatness and consistency. The most experienced receiver they have on the roster is Randall Cobb, who is a franchise legend in his own right.
But all Fitzgerald needs to put the icing on the cake of his career is a Super Bowl ring. He went to one in 2008 but never got back. The Packers have a great shot to get there, especially with Aaron Rodgers back and with their elite defense.
But Fitzgerald’s relationship with Rodgers goes beyond football, which is neat. Fitzgerald and the future Hall of Fame QB have spent time in previous offseasons together tackling hearing loss around the world. They have a strong relationship and care about life outside of football.
Fitzgerald is good for catching at least 50 passes when targeted. He also does not drop passes. The former Pittsburgh Panthers WR has more tackles in his career than drops. He has been staying in great shape during his brief retirement.
He would bring all-time great leadership and experience to a unit that could really benefit from it.
The WR room is crowded in Green Bay. Matt LaFleur is probably looking at having seven receivers on his final 53-man roster. Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Amari Rodgers are the locks ahead of training camp. It will be a fight for that final roster spot.
Bringing in Fitzgerald sounds crazy. At first glance, it would look like a ridiculous move.
But signing one of the greatest receivers of all-time on a one-year deal, who has a strong bond with one of the greatest QBs of all-time, makes more sense than you’d think. Especially considering that he is in fantastic shape and has always been incredibly consistent.
Oh, don’t forget that he is used to the cold weather, too, since he grew up in Minnesota. So, if he is searching for that Super Bowl ring, Green Bay is a pretty perfect destination.