Carson Palmer and Cardinals' QB mindset

A.J. from Oakland thinks Carson Palmer could again be an effective quarterback if he were to benefit from decent protection and improved weapons.

"Considering how good the Arizona Cardinals' defense is and having good receivers," he writes, "why don't the Cardinals explore a trade?"

2010-12 QB Comparison

Sando: Mike Jurecki of XTRA Sports 910AM says the Cardinals are looking into such a move. Acquiring Palmer makes no sense financially unless the Cardinals can work out a more favorable contract. However, the Raiders tried and failed to reduce Palmer's salary. Why would Palmer agree to a pay cut in Arizona when becoming a free agent is the likely alternative? Once released, Palmer could survey his options without needing Oakland to play along.

The Cardinals need all the draft choices they can get as they restock their roster with younger talent. Trading a pick to the Raiders for Palmer would hurt Arizona's youth movement in two ways. One, the team would lose a draft choice representing a young, low-cost player. Two, Palmer would give the Cardinals a 33-year-old roadblock to developing someone else for the role. Some might reasonably consider Palmer a bridge to such a player. If the Cardinals think Drew Stanton has a good shot at becoming a solid starter, why send him to the sideline? It wouldn't make sense unless the team thought Palmer would be significantly better -- good enough to make the Cardinals a playoff contender, even.

Arizona fans enter this discussion having suffered through three years of horrendous quarterbacking. When they see the chart showing Palmer's production over the past three years, they see a huge upgrade. New coach Bruce Arians shared in none of the Cardinals' recent pain. He is starting fresh. He might be more apt to see mediocrity in Palmer's production. He might see a quarterback ranked 23rd in Total QBR and 20th in NFL passer rating out of 32 qualifying quarterbacks since 2010.

I suspect Arians realizes the Cardinals would be better off with Palmer as part of the mix. That seems obvious. The question then becomes one of price and whether Palmer would want to play for the Cardinals. Mike Garafolo of USA Today reported that Palmer would have interest in starting for the Cardinals or even backing up Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco. The thought of losing Palmer to a division rival could, in theory, drive up the price. That is the sort of information an agent might want out there. It also might be the truth. Sometimes, it's tough to tell the difference.