With star player Larry Fitzgerald’s contract expiring at the end of the 2011 season and potential free agents Steve Breaston and Early Doucet each having injury issues after missing a combined nine games in 2010, could the need for help at wide receiver be bigger than the Cardinals might be suggesting?
“If there weren’t so many other holes, it (the WR situation) would probably be a much bigger deal,” one team insider said. We’re hearing it’s far from a given that Fitzgerald, Breaston and Doucet, in that order, will enter next season as the Cardinals’ top three receivers, with the problems the latter two have had staying healthy quite possibly opening the door for reinforcements.
“They have still done nothing to indicate they’re going to re-sign Breaston,” the insider said of the team’s holdover No. 2 receiver, who at the start of last season looked like a lock to be re-signed for the long term before a knee injury began taking its toll. “As for Early, they like him and think he has just had an incredible string of bad luck. But the fact is he’s been undependable now for three years in a row.”
Two possible replacements currently on the roster are 2010 third-round pick Andre Roberts, who showed some flashes as last season wore on after a really shaky start in training camp, and undrafted rookie Stephen Williams, who was just the opposite of Roberts, becoming a virtual nonfactor after looking like a real find in the preseason. “They’re very happy with the way Roberts came on. But he doesn’t have the speed to stretch the field and is a slot receiver at best,” the insider said. “Williams had a great camp, but once the season started, it was as if he was just happy to have made the roster. He has great ability, but he needs to step it up.”