Jan 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) warms up before the game against the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Cardinals have some pretty big roster decisions ahead of them in the 2017 offseason, none of them of the easy variety either.
There are plenty of pending free agents to sort through with pass rusher Chandler Jones at the top of the list. Getting him a new deal is big. Even so it’s becoming apparent that the Cardinals brass can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. Carson Palmer is approaching the end of his career. The three-time Pro Bowler had quite the renaissance in Arizona, something that has become popular with that team over the years.
Though he threw for 4,233 yards and 26 touchdowns there was a noticeable decrease in his overall efficiency and effectiveness. A lot of that may be contributed to the fact that he’s 37-years old. The clock is ticking on how much longer the Cardinals can hope to lean on him to propel their offense. Even with a star running back like David Johnson in place.
Head coach Bruce Arians, a notorious straight shooter, didn’t hold back in his assessment of the situation. He made it perfectly clear that the Cardinals will be active in the search for a possible successor this off-season.
“I hope to. That will be one of our main objectives in the offseason is to make sure the franchise isn’t in the situation it was after Kurt (Warner), that the next guy is here and ready to roll.”
Arians is certainly a realist. He, like many in that organization knows what happened after Warner retired in 2010. The franchise went down the tubes as a flurry of forgettable quarterbacks tried to fill that gaping void. Not being prepared for his departure was a big reason why that happened. A mistake the organization doesn’t seem intent on repeating. If that’s the case, who are some names they might target?
Nov 19, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) passes the ball in the third quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Notre Dame Stadium. Virginia Tech won 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
It’s important to remember the man in charge when considering a quarterback for the team. Bruce Arians has coached some really good ones like Peyton Mannning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. All threw of them had similar traits in common. They were big, they were smart and they all had the arm to go deep down the field. That’s a big reason why Arians traded for Palmer in the first place.
Deshone Kizer (Notre Dame)
In terms of size and arm strength, Kizer stands right at the top of the prospect list in this draft class. Going to Notre Dame means he’s probably got a decent brain in that head of his as well. Few doubt his physical prowess. It’s his somewhat pedestrian development as a polished passer that has them wary. These are the kinds of things that Arians could fix in his sleep. There is no question Kizer would be a great fit in that vertical offense.
The hottest name in draft circles at the moment is Josh Allen. A sophomore out of Wyoming. he emerged out of nowhere and has developed quite a following. Many have compared him to Jay Cutler. That means he should have a powerful arm, which he does. He’s also 6’5″, something else the Cardinals will like when they see it. Allen has loads of physical potential but his mechanics are all over the place. The rawness is plain to see but if fixed could breed a star.
Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech)
There is not a quarterback in this 2017 draft class who loves going for the deep strike more than Texas Tech star Patrick Mahomes. Not only does he have the strong arm to push it down the field, he’s also got amazing deep accuracy and touch. He’ll remind Arians a lot of Big Ben for that arm but also the ability to move and improvise on the fly. His mechanics and footwork are beyond raw, but given time and patience he might end up being the best in the class.