The Arizona Cardinals may be just about ready to toss in the towel on their veteran quarterback, but the question is, what happens after Carson Palmer’s time in town comes to a close? The Cardinals are sitting at just 4-6-1 and their playoff hopes seem to be all but doomed at this point. As for Palmer himself, he’s been as mediocre as you can imagine, which isn’t what was expected heading into the 2016-17 NFL season.
Palmer, who’s set to turn 37 in December, has completed just 60.9 percent of his passes, the lowest number since the 2011 season with the Oakland Raiders. He’s also thrown for just 15 touchdowns and already has the same number of interceptions through his 10 games (11) than he did throughout the entire 2015 season. As for his quarterback rating? Well, it’s dropped over 20 points since last season and over 12 points from 2014.
The season has been a huge disappointment for Palmer, the organization and of course the fans as well. But looking forward, the good news for the Cardinals is that they have plenty of options if/when they choose to move on from Palmer. Those options begin with yet another veteran quarterback in Tony Romo.
Romo, who was supplanted as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys by rookie Dak Prescott, is likely going to be available via trade during the 2017 offseason. While many teams are likely to have an interest in him, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport pointed out that Romo could have a say in where he winds up being traded to.
Obviously, the Denver Broncos could push hard, as Rapoport stated. On that same note, who’s to say that Romo wouldn’t also have interest in the Cardinals? Arizona has an elite running back in David Johnson, as well as a strong group of receivers with Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown and J.J. Nelson.
While Romo is an option, he’s not the only option for the Cardinals.
Free agency isn’t exactly loaded with options for starting quarterbacks, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is one name who obviously comes to mind, but it seems unlikely the Redskins will let him leave town. So, maybe a name like Case Keenum could be an option? It’s not the most appealing option of the bunch, but that’s why the NFL draft is there.
Arizona could be looking at a pretty high draft pick, which could result in the team getting one of the top three quarterbacks available, and allows them to build for the future. The question then becomes, could a rookie put them in a position to win immediately? With Johnson and Fitzgerald leading the offense, it would make a rookie’s job a whole lot easier.
The draft options for the Cardinals this offseason could include Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson or Miami’s Brad Kaaya. If they choose to wait one round, it could possibly be UNC’s Mitch Trubisky or Cal’s Davis Webb. Regardless, it’s a complete unknown if any of those names would be ready to immediately step into a Prescott-type role for the Cardinals in 2017.
While not all of the options are glamorous, the good news is that they’re there. It could be far worse for the Cardinals in 2017, as they could have essentially no options and could be facing a draft class of QBs with very little upside. Time will tell, but this should be a fun situation to monitor over the next year if Palmer is no longer in town.