The Cardinals revolving quarterback door spit another one out on Monday, with the team announcing the release of John Skelton.
Skelton’s release comes a little more than two weeks after Kevin Kolb was cut and less than three weeks after career backup Drew Stanton was signed to a two-year deal. Between them, Skelton and Kolb have started 27 of the Cardinals’ 32 games over the past two seasons.
The timing of Skelton’s release parallels multiple reports that the team is in the final stages of a trade for Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer. The deal would reportedly send a late-round draft pick to Oakland, in addition to an exchange of late-round picks between the teams. It’s expected that Palmer would sign a restructured contract with Arizona, paying him $8 million plus incentives.
Presumably, the Cardinals wouldn’t pay that kind of money for a backup, so it’s likely they will head to training camp later this summer with Palmer as the starter and Stanton as the backup.
The team has two other quarterbacks under contract. Brian Hoyer, who had been a restricted free agent, signed a one-year qualifying offer on Monday. Ryan Lindley is working under a four-year contract he signed after being drafted in 2012.
Even so, the Cardinals still might be tempted to add another quarterback in this month’s draft. At 33, Palmer is unlikely to be a long-term solution, and Lindley gave the team little reason to believe he could develop into one during his trial by fire last season.
Skelton started 17 games over the past three seasons in Arizona. The Cardinals had an 8-9 record in those games. But he struggled when given the opportunity to take over for an injured Kolb in 2012, throwing two touchdown passes and nine interceptions before losing the job to Lindley and then Hoyer. In his three seasons, he threw 15 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions.
In addition to Hoyer, two other Cardinals signed 2013 contracts on Monday: defensive end Ronald Talley and running back William Powell.