Fitzgerald would offer so much more to the Steelers receivers than just his sure hands
The Pittsburgh Steelers are about to venture into an offseason that will be unlike anything this current regime has experienced in the past. Now, instead of retooling the roster and taking a crack at a Super Bowl run, Steelers general Manager Kevin Colbert will oversee the start of a new era. A lot of aging and declining veterans will be replaced by many new faces.
However, there is one position where the Steelers should turn to a more mature face. That position being wide receiver, and that player being long time Arizona Cardinals superstar Larry Fitzgerald.
.@LarryFitzgerald. Always a class act.
— NFL (@NFL) February 1, 2019
Now, you may be thinking to yourself why should the Steelers be spending money on a 37 (going on 38) year old Larry Fitzgerald. But the answer is really quite simple. This wide receiver group has never really had a mature, veteran leader teaching the young guys how to be men in the NFL. The perfect man for that job is Larry Fitzgerald. In fact, I would go as far to say no player in this league could challenge Fitzgerald as being a better man.
Just look at the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers. Their oldest receiver was 24 year old Diontae Johnson. The biggest influencing voice in the locker room was JuJu Smith-Schuster, who, in all honesty, focuses on his video game and TikTok career more than he does his NFL career. That influence is already seeping into the mind of Chase Claypool. The former Notre Dame stud receiver used to rarely post anything on social media, perhaps a highlight of him blocking someone every now and then, but since Steelers training camp, Claypool has posted more TikTok’s than he made receptions, and began documenting his life for his YouTube channel.
Sure, it’s great for his brand, and expanding his net income, but if you want to be a player in this league like Julio Jones or A.J. Brown, you better spend less time figuring out the next dance and more time prepping film or stretching.
Chase Claypool says the Browns won’t last long in the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/7toymcANzJ
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 11, 2021
Going back to Smith-Schuster, I want you to ask yourself who were his leaders in Pittsburgh when he got to town? The psychotic Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, who didn’t want JuJu on the team from the moment he was drafted. How can you blame the guy for not having any discipline? He honestly doesn’t know any better.
Enter Larry Fitzgerald.
If you search Fitzgerald on any social media you’ll notice one thing. He posts with some frequency, but it’s almost always about some cause he is fighting for, or appreciation posts about his teammates. Just go to his Instagram page and you’ll see that a good majority of his photos highlight someone other than himself.
Fitzgerald is a selfless leader, that won’t spend all week coming up with touchdown celebrations. His touchdown celebration is handing the ball to the ref and running back to the bench…
It will not be easy to coax Fitzgerald away from the Cardinals, for whom he’s played with for 17 seasons, but I think the Steelers might have a tiny sliver of hope. The biggest factor is Fitzgerald played his college football within Heinz Field as a member of the Pittsburgh Panthers. He could end his career right where it started, and with the possibility of Smith-Schuster leaving town, Fitzgerald might actually receive more playing time than he would if he was playing in Arizona.
Our favorite wide receiver who was a Heisman Trophy finalist…
Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) January 6, 2021
As for a contract. His 2020 stats line up pretty closely with 2019 free agent Breshad Perriman. Who signed a deal worth 6.5 million dollars per year. Now, you have to factor in how contracts will drop because of the flat (at best) salary cap and Fitzgerald’s age. Then you would be looking somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million dollars.
Long story short, you can make it fit.
This unit is in desperate need of some leadership, and there is no better leader, or locker room voice, than Larry Fitzgerald.
But what do you think? Do the Steelers need a veteran voice within its receiving unit? Is Larry Fitzgerald that guy? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.