Boldin vs. Fitzgerald: Who's More Valuable?

While the Cardinals locked up Pro Bowl WR Larry Fitzgerald this offseason, WR Anquan Boldin is still in search of a new deal. Both players are vital cogs of the Arizona offense and will once again be major contributors in 2008. Brad Wilbricht breaks down the Cardinals talented receiving duo in this exclusive.

WR Larry Fitzgerald was rewarded with a four-year $40 million contract last March. On the field, Fitzgerald's performance has been spectacular and well warrants a deal of that stature. During his four-year tenure in Arizona, Fitzgerald has racked up 330 catches, 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns. He's caught over 100 passes in a season and broke the 1,400 yard barrier twice. In addition, Fitzgerald has proved to be extremely durable and reliable. He's missed only four games during his career and has reeled in 224 catches that resulted in first downs.

Fitzgerald is a dynamic player who has already reached the Pro Bowl twice in his career. While he boasts incredible ability and athleticism, Fitzgerald's feel for the game may be what sets him apart. His leaping ability and soft hands allow him to catch balls in traffic as well as anyone in the league. Furthermore, he's an excellent route runner and a solid blocker.

Off the field, Fitzgerald has been just as impressive. While NFL players are being disciplined and suspended at an alarming rate, Fitzgerald's name is nowhere to be found in the headlines. Even during heated contract negotiations, Fitzgerald remained quiet and optimistic about reaching a new deal. He routinely spoke with head coach Ken Whisenhunt and other Cardinals coaches when reaching a new deal was in doubt.

WR Anquan Boldin
(Harry How/Getty)

While WR WR Anquan Boldin's desire for a new contract is no secret, his relationships with current coaches and teammates have remained positive. Boldin understands the business aspect of the game and has been through this scenario before. Following an outstanding rookie season in 2003, Boldin and agent Drew Rosenhaus requested a new deal. Boldin was selected in the second round of the draft, but immediately performed at a Pro Bowl level. In 2003, he caught 101 passes for 1,377 yards and eight touchdowns.

During Boldin's five-year career, he's totaled 413 catches, 5,458 yards and 29 touchdowns. While he's not the vertical target Fitzgerald is, Boldin is a much more physical receiver. His size and strength allows him to beat press coverage and win jump ball situations. Boldin is a tremendous blocker and an elusive runner with the ball in his hands. While he's primarily an intermediate target, Boldin is fearless going over the middle to catch balls in traffic. Additionally, his experience playing quarterback assists him in reading opposing defenses and finding openings in coverage.

Like Fitzgerald, Boldin has been a model teammate and citizen in the community. With contract negotiations still ongoing, Boldin was in attendance at the Cardinals mini camp last May. During Mini camp, he spent time working with the incoming rookie class, in particular rookie WR Early Doucet.

Although Fitzgerald and Boldin feature different styles of play, both are equally important to the Cardinals offense. Fitzgerald is a prototypical vertical target, while Boldin is a classic possession receiver. GM Rod Graves understands the importance of both players and has already rewarded Fitzgerald with a new deal. Now, it's just a matter of time before Boldin is rewarded with his new contract of his own.

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