Larry Fitzgerald

Could The Larry-Fitzgerald-to-Patriots pipe dream ever become a reality?

Could The Larry-Fitzgerald-to-Patriots pipe dream ever become a reality?

The NFL trade deadline is nearly upon us, and the question is: Could this be the year that the Larry-Fitzgerald-to-the-Patriots pipe dream becomes a reality?

MIKE GIARDI: Oh. My. God. Are we really doing this again? Right now everybody in Arizona is fighting to keep their jobs - the GM, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, etc. right on down the damn ball boys. You know what doesn't help that? Trading Larry Freakin' Fitzgerald. Four times in seven games, he's been targeted 10 or more times. Twice, he's caught at least 10. Yes, he's older and maybe when the Cards find themselves again, Fitz is of no help to them. But he helps now and that's what it's all about. Besides, if you were going to invest resources to make a trade of this magnitude, why the heck would you do it for a wide receiver? You have enough. And I've had enough of this conversation I'm out.

OTHER TRADE QUESTIONSWill Malcolm Butler be this year's Jamie Collins? | Will Pats trade for linebacker with Hightower out? | Will Patriots trade Jimmy Garoppolo?

 

PHIL PERRY: Sorry, kids. I don't see this happening. Do the Patriots respect Larry Fitzgerald as a player? Of course. And I get why people here might still be interested. He'd quickly be their top slot receiver, in all likelihood. He'd help provide depth in case Danny Amendola misses time. He'd give a boost to the Patriots offense, which may be forced to out-gun teams more often now that the defense is without Dont'a Hightower. But the Patriots offense is already one of the most efficient in the league, and it looks like there would have to be some finagling done financially to make room for the 34-year-old future Hall of Famer. Fitzgerald is still owed the remaining portion of his $11 million guaranteed in base salary, and the Patriots have a shade under $5 million available in cap space. The Cardinals have a quarterback with a broken arm and a running back with a damaged wrist, and they may be willing to part with Fitzgerald for a couple of mid-round picks. But given the dearth of choices the Patriots have had in recent years, they may have to start being more protective of those. Giving up draft capital what looks like a luxury rather than a need seems . . . unnecessary. Tom, would you chase Fitz if given the opportunity? Is there another receiver out there you'd be interested in? Or are we suckers for spending any time at all looking at this position?

 

TOM E. CURRAN: The lowest of low-hanging fruit trade targets. I think the first time this was run up the flagpole was 2009. And here we are - eight seasons later - pining for Fitz. I don't think wideout is a particular issue. A complementary tight end for Gronk? Yes. Maybe Will Tye fills that role in the second half if the Dwayne Allen Experience shuts it down for good. Tye is on the practice squad. The place the Patriots hurt is in the middle of the field and short. Running Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan in there will inevitably lead to both of them being less than 100. That's a guarantee. But the developing running game and the return of Rex Burkhead as the team's third dual-threat running back addresses that. If the Patriots want a slot, they don't need to trade for him. Go get Daniel Braverman - a free agent - and plunk him on the practice squad. Fitz. He'll be standing on the steps in Canton in a yellow coat and people will be saying, "Pats gotta find a way to get him..."

NFL Awards: No hardware for Brady, Patriots

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NFL Awards: No hardware for Brady, Patriots

Turns out missing the first four games of the season proved to big a hurdle for Tom Brady in his bid for NFL MVP, with Matt Ryan winning the league’s highest individual honor Saturday night.

Ryan was also named the AP Offensive Player of the Year after throwing 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. The Falcons quarterback had a 69.9 completion percentage and totaled 4,944 passing yards. Ryan is the first Falcons player to win honors. Brady finished second in the voting.

Khalil Mack upset Von Miller, earning AP Defensive Player of the Year. Mack finished with 73 tackles for the Raiders, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and three pass deflections. The defensive end also had one interception and one touchdown.

Dak Prescott beat out his Cowboys teammate Ezekiel Elliot, being named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Prescott finished the season with 3667 yards in the air, completing 67.8 of his passes, chucking 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions. In addition to his passing, Prescott ran for 282 yards, averaging 4.95 yards per carry, scrambling the end zone six times.

Prescott wasn’t the only Cowboy to take home hardware. Jason Garrett was named the AP coach of the Year after leading Dallas to a 13-3 regular season record.

Joey Bosa of the San Diego Chargers took home AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Of the defensive end’s 41 tackles, he had 10.5 sacks.

Jordy Nelson won the AP Comeback Player of Year award. He scored a league-high 14 TDs and had 1,257 yards, bouncing back from his torn ACL.

Larry Fitzgerald and Eli Manning earned Walter Payton Man of the Year honors.

Atlanta’s Kyle Shanahan won the Assistant Coach of the Year award.

Frank Gore won the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

The Dallas Cowboys offensive line earned top billing.

Looking into Michael Floyd's first-round pedigree

Looking into Michael Floyd's first-round pedigree

Michael Floyd was the 13th overall pick in a 2012 draft class that wasn’t known for having great receivers. He ultimately didn’t prove to be worth that in Arizona over five seasons, but he nevertheless comes to New England with something of a high pedigree. 

So, where did that billing come from? 

The answer is kind of boring, but it’s a combination of physical attributes and numbers. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Floyd had better size than the draft’s top-ranked receiver (Justin Blackmon) and his competition to be the second receiver taken (Kendall Wright). He also held the Notre Dame school record with 37 touchdown receptions over his four seasons, two of those seasons came under Charlie Weis.  

Holding him back were his three arrests for alcohol-related incidents, including a DUI, but his 4.47 second 40-yard dash (faster than the 5-foot-10, 196-pound Wright’s showing) cemented himself as a first-round prospect. 

From NFL.com after the 2012 scouting combine: 

Floyd is a polished receiver who shows the ability to release and burst off the line of scrimmage despite his frame. He is a solid route runner who will consistently make the big catch. He is an excellent athlete who is strong and contributes in the run game with his physicality on the edge. A receiver who is tough across the middle, Floyd will make the tough catch and get up-field. Floyd brings that No. 1 receiver presence to the next level and projects to produce to that standard. Floyd's explosiveness off the line and frame when catching balls make him a presence that is felt by opposing defenses. As a blocker, Floyd will do more than just mirror defenders, as he will come down the line of scrimmage and crack linebackers. He is a red zone threat at any level and his projectability to the next level is a major key to his high draft value.

[Looking back at that draft and it's a whopper of a reminder to not get too caught up in however the wind happens to be blowing at the combine. After the aformentioned three receivers and then A.J. Jenkins, Brian Quick and Stephen Hill were taken, it was the draft's seventh receiver, Alshon Jeffrey, who proved to be the stud of the class. As you may recall, his stock plummeted because he'd put on weight.]

Floyd’s selection by the Cardinals set him up to be their No. 2 until he would, in theory, he surpass Larry Fitzgerald, a succession plan the Texans managed to execute a year later by taking DeAndre Hopkins to team with and eventually replace Andre Johnson. 

Yet, Floyd never quite took off as a No. 1 in the making. Though he led the team in receiving yards in 2013 and 2014, he was third on the team in receiving yards in three of his five seasons in Arizona, including the past two. To be fair, this season has seen him out-targeted by running back David Johnson, so he was working as the team’s No. 2 receiver, even if not by much over John Brown. 

Coming to New England, maybe he’ll make an impact the way Deion Branch did immediately in 2010 or the way Jabar Gaffney eventually did in 2006. He’s got a lot riding on this stretch with New England, as he’ll be a free agent at season’s end and teams might not be enamored with a receiver who failed to reach his potential in two spots, even if he was a first-round pick.