Around the NFL  

 

Wilks: Cardinals 'definitely' want Larry Fitzgerald back

Print

"If it's not broke, don't fix it."

That was the philosophy preached by new Arizona Cardinals Steve Wilks during his introductory news conference Tuesday. Wilks was referencing the scheme and make-up of the roster on defense, where Arizona boasts three All-Pros in Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones.

On the other side of the ball, there is far more unknown, and far more fixing to be done. Carson Palmer called it quits after 14 years; David Johnson is coming off a devastating injury; and future first-ballot Hall of Fame wideout Larry Fitzgerald is weighing retirement.

When asked whether he had spoken to Fitz about his future, Wilks told reporters Tuesday that he knows about as much as the rest of us.

"I spoke with Larry. We had a very in-depth conversation. I enjoyed the conversation he and I had," Wilks began. "He did not express he was or wasn't coming back but we would definitely love to have him back. He is a major part of our success past, present and future -- first-ballot Hall of Famer so we definitely want him back."

Even at the ripe old age of 34 and catching balls from three different quarterbacks, Fitzgerald led the Cardinals in targets (161), receptions (109), receiving yards (1,156) and total TDs (6). The wideout still has the capabilities to be a No. 1 wide receiver, if he chooses to return and be the initial face of Arizona's transition. He signed a one-year extension through 2018 in November.

For Arizona, keeping Fitzgerald in the building is only one of myriad tasks this offseason to build a viable offense for 2018. Without Palmer, the Cardinals will either need to attack free agency or use the draft to find their QB of the future. Even if Fitz stays, their depth at wide receiver is iffy.

Despite the holes on offense, Wilks insisted that, in the hyper-competitive NFC West, Arizona doesn't need to reinvent the wheel to stay relevant.

"As I told [owner] Michael [Bidwill] and I told [general manager] Steve [Keim], this is not a re-build this is a re-tool. I think we have the pieces in place when you look at the talent level on both sides of the ball," Wilks said. "There's a question mark we all know -- it's the elephant in the room -- we don't have a quarterback. Steve and I have addressed that issue. We sat down with Michael as well already. We're going to have a very active and aggressive plan for free agency and we'll see exactly what's going to happen within the draft.

"But we're going to put a quality team on the field that's going to give us the opportunity to win each and every week."

Print