It has been a clamorous offseason for the Arizona Cardinals, most notably due to quarterback Kyler Murray’s contract squabbles and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ suspension for the 2022 season’s first six games.
However, the greatest Cardinal of them all, former wideout Larry Fitzgerald, expressed his confidence that Murray would be able to hoist the Cardinals beyond the tumult in the upcoming campaign.
“Obviously, the schedule’s really tough early in the season I know they’re going to be without Hop, but I know Kyler has the ability and the fortitude to be able to lift this team up,” Fitzgerald told MJ Acosta-Ruiz on Friday’s edition of NFL Full Access.
Speaking from Nevada where he played in the annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament, Fitzgerald praised his former quarterback mightily and also underscored his belief that the offense is in good hands and a good place despite Hopkins’ absence.
Hopkins was suspended for six games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Murray, meanwhile, has been looking for a contract extension that has largely played out on social media.
“There’s nobody in the game as talented as, as diverse an array of abilities in terms of his athleticism, his ability to throw the ball going left or right,” said Fitzgerald of Murray, who were teammates in Fitzgerald’s last two seasons of 2019, 2020. “He’s immensely talented. He’s a guy that everybody around the league has to prepare differently for. You bring in [Marquise Brown]Zach Ertz is now coming into his second year, better acclimated with the system. James Conner is fully healthy going back into the year. I really like where they are positioned.”
Still, the Cards went 3-4 without Hopkins (due to injury) in 2021 and are slated to face the Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks over the first six weeks.
Despite Hopkins’ impending absence, the Cardinals certainly do not have a bare offensive cupboard with the aforementioned Ertz and Conner back in the fold and complimented by the newly acquired Brown to go along with receivers Rondale Moore and AJ Green, and rookie tight end Trey McBride .
Then there’s Murray, whose dual-threat abilities and production back up Fitzgerald’s kind words as more than just hyperbole.
Murray, according to NFL Research, is the only player in NFL history with 70 touchdown passes and 20 rushing touchdowns in his first three seasons, and joins Cam Newton as one of only two players in history to post 10,000-plus passing yards and more than 1,500 rushing yards in his first three seasons. In total, Murray, a two-time Pro Bowler, has collected 11,480 passing yards, 70 passing TDs, 1,786 rushing yards and 20 rushing scores.
However, Murray is not expected to play for Arizona without a new deal. How this all plays out remains uncertain, but Fitzgerald remains confident that Murray will be there to keep the Cardinals flying high.