With the 2015 season in the rear-view mirror, the Arizona Cardinals have moved on to preparing for next season.
Arizona has 15 unrestricted and four restricted free agents who are set to hit the open market March 9. Over the next two weeks, I will take a detailed look at each position that is slated to have a free agent and what the likelihood of those players returning in 2016 is on a high, medium or low scale.
First up, quarterback ...
Unrestricted free agent: Drew Stanton
2015 stats: 11-for-25 passing for 104 yards, 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
2015 salary: $3.2 million
Likelihood of returning: High.
Why: There are a few reasons why I think Stanton is likely to be re-signed by Arizona, but the most important reason is that he knows the Cardinals’ offense as well as anyone on the team. He has an extra year in it, having played under coach Bruce Arians in Indianapolis in 2012. Arians values a quarterback who can step in for starter Carson Palmer, if needed, and guide the offense without it missing a beat. If Arizona were to sign a different backup, he would go through the growing pains of learning the intricacies of the scheme like he was a rookie. Keeping Stanton is a safe bet. Then there’s the fact that Arians likes Stanton quite a bit. Having a good rapport with the quarterback room is important in having a cohesive locker room.