Cardinals upgrade QB position with Palmer
APR 02, 2013 11:45p ET
No player is more important to a team’s success, and it’s not even close. Palmer is an upgrade over Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley and now-released John Skelton. Again, it’s not even close.
The fact that the Cards had to give up only a conditional 2014 pick and swap their sixth-round pick in 2013 (176th overall) for Oakland's seventh-round pick (219th) is further cause for celebration. The Cards had two sixth-round picks this season, anyway, and when you scan the list of Arizona’s sixth-round picks since 2000, only one name gets you excited: David Carter.
The others? Jabari Issa, Bobby Newcombe, Josh Scobey, Tony Gilbert, Reggie Wells, Nick Leckey, Jonathan Lewis, Chris Harrington, Will Davis, Jorrick Calvin, Quan Sturdivant, Justin Bethel and Lindley.
A source familiar with the contract said Palmer’s deal is for two years and $16 million, with $10 million guaranteed, which was more attractive to Palmer than what he was being offered in Oakland.
Some might wonder why, if the Cardinals were willing to spend for a veteran quarterback, they were unwilling to re-sign Kevin Kolb at whatever reduced price he deemed fair. (Kolb was due a $9 million salary this season.) Kolb is five years younger than Palmer and had a higher passer rating than Palmer last year.
There’s a fair argument to be made here, but there were a few things working against Kolb. Topping that list were his injury history and his lack of experience.
This is not to say that Palmer is the second coming of Warner. Warner is headed to the Hall of Fame. Palmer is not. When Warner arrived in Arizona, the NFC West was also the league’s poorest division. With Seattle and San Francisco both Super Bowl contenders and the Rams expected to take another step forward, the NFC West could be the league’s best division this season.
But, clearly, Palmer gives the Cardinals a better chance to be competitive within the division, and he is driven.
We don’t buy the notion that Palmer would hinder the development of a younger quarterback. If the Cards do select a quarterback this season -- Arians was non-committal on this Tuesday --there’s nothing wrong with him playing behind a veteran for a couple seasons. It used to happen all the time in the NFL, and it worked just fine.
Palmer completed 345 of 565 passes (61.1 percent) last season for 4,018 yards in 15 games last season, becoming just the second quarterback in Raiders history (Rich Gannon) to top 4,000 yards in a season. He threw 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions for a 85.3 passer rating.
He is not a long-term solution — that is clear from his two-year deal. But if he can bridge the gap while the Cards find that solution, all the better. We’ve witnessed more brutal quarterback play the past three seasons than any city should have to endure.
So if you were hoping the Cardinals would tank this season so they could build through high draft picks, know that virtually no team ever thinks that way. The idea is to improve whenever you get the chance. That’s why this move was made, and there’s nothing wrong with that.