It's no secret - the New England Patriots are on the market for a top-tier wide receiver, and according to the latest rumblings out of Foxborough, they're actively pursuing a trade for Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. We mentioned this potential trade in our Patriots rumors roundup last Friday, giving the trade about a 20% probability of happening, but things have continued to heat up since.
Let's be completely clear: nothing has been confirmed. This trade is not "imminent", and while the Patriots would love to find a way to make this happen, all we can confirm is the Patriots really, really want to make this happen. The Cardinals are free to say no, Fitzgerald is free to say no, and there are dozens of ways this could fall through.
Fitzgerald is settled in Arizona, and the idea of moving all the way to New England in the middle of the season isn't as appealing as it might be if he were younger. The Cardinals aren't as desperate as a team like the Vikings or the Giants, and Fitzgerald isn't outwardly unhappy or publicly engineering a move.
Still - the Patriots need an elite receiver. The Cardinals need draft picks. New England has the weight and the resources to make this happen if they decide to meet the Cards' asking price - whatever that turns out to be. Fitzgerald is on the wrong side of 30, and if the Cardinals want to cash in, now is the time.
This could go down to the wire, and ultimately comes down to whether or not the Patriots decide to meet Arizona's asking price. The Cardinals will probably demand a first-rounder and more up front, but we think they'd ultimately settle for something like two second-rounders and a third- or fourth-rounder. The Cardinals aren't going anywhere with their current offense, and while there are a number of promising players on defense who they'll want to keep, they may need to get worse before they can get better. The Patriots are giving them an opportunity to do that now rather than later, and it'll be fascinating to see if they take that chance.
Updated probability: ~30%
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