Arizona Cardinals: Has Michael Floyd Made Larry Fitzgerald Expendable?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | At 6-4, the Arizona Cardinals have been one of the NFL's surprise teams. When one thinks about the Cardinals offense, Larry Fitzgerald comes to mind. However, it's Michael Floyd that looked like the All-Pro in a Week 11 27-14 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Has Floyd's emergence made Fitzgerald expendable or should they keep them paired, as when Anquan Boldin was in town?

FLOYD VS. FITZGERALD

Nobody is going to say that Floyd is better than Fitzgerald at this point. They are similar receivers in that neither is a burner and both have displayed an excellent ability to make the difficult catches look easy.

Floyd has less total receptions (45 to 42), but he has a full 103 more yards (657-554). Fitzgerald leads 6-3 in touchdowns and certainly faces a glut of double teams that Floyd simply doesn't have to contend with.

In Week 11, Floyd was targeted 11 times, which was two more than Fitzgerald. In fact, even though the Cardinals have been performing well, Fitzgerald is in quite a slump. In his past four games, he has just 15 catches for 149 yards on 27 targets.

During that same stretch, Floyd has battled a sprained shoulder, but has 16 catches for 312 yards on 26 targets. Less targets, but more catches and many more yards. Each has two touchdowns.

TRADING FITZGERALD

Getting equal value for a superstar just doesn't happen. A combination of picks can turn out well in the end, but that's such a crapshoot that the Cardinals shouldn't even consider it. If the Cardinals were set on trading Fitzgerald, they'd have to plug some holes with proven commodities.

The offensive line has been better, but still needs a ton of help. Would a team trade an All-Pro lineman for Fitzgerald at this point? It seems the market for high quality offensive line help is much leaner than the market for high quality wide receivers.

In addition, what if Floyd's success is in large part due to the one-on-one matchups he's seeing? The Cardinals don't want Fitzgerald playing decoy, but that's a huge part of it. Once Floyd emerges as a legitimate No. 2 (and potential No. 1) receiver, the double teams on Fitzgerald will start to go away.

That was the beauty of having Boldin and Fitzgerald together. The defense couldn't key on just one of them. If they tried to attach a safety to each of them, then Steve Breaston made them pay.

Has Floyd made Fitzgerald expendable? Not quite yet. On the surface, it looks like Floyd is assuming a greater role on the team. But, we can't forget that it's Fitzgerald who is making life for Floyd on the football field much easier.

Michael Dunlap is the author of the " Daily NBA Fix ", an all-encompassing daily column that covers the NBA. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the NBA site HoopsHabit.com . He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic.

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