Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is noncommittal on a return for the 2017 season. The 37-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner and the first overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft has played 14 seasons in the NFL for three teams.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 29, 2017
The 2016 season was a disappointing one for Palmer following a stellar 2015 season which included a career high in passing yards and touchdowns along with his first postseason victory. Arizona also won 13 games in a season and clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs – both firsts for the league’s oldest franchise. Following their loss in the NFC Championship game, Arizona had high expectations entering 2016 as they were considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Palmer, however, did begin to show cracks in the foundation down the stretch of 2015 as well culminating in a disastrous performance in the NFC Championship where he turned the ball over six times in a 49-15 loss to Carolina.
Palmer has also battled some injury problems during his career. Most notably he has torn his left ACL twice, once in 2006 when he was with the Bengals and more recently in 2014 while with the Cardinals. In 2008, he missed 12 games following an injury to the elbow in his throwing arm. He also missed a game earlier this season with a concussion and battled hamstring issues as well.
If Palmer were to hang ’em up, it would leave the Cardinals in a tough spot. They currently don’t have any long-term solutions on the roster. Drew Stanton is currently the backup and that’s the role he’s best suited for. The Cardinals could address the position in the draft. DeShaun Watson, fresh off a National Championship-winning season at Clemson, could conceivably be available at 13th overall. They could also go for a quarterback on Day 2, where Brad Kaaya (Miami), Nathan Peterman (Pittsburgh) Jerod Evans (Virginia Tech) and Pat Mahomes (Texas Tech) could all potentially be available.
Another route would be through free agency. There’s a few veteran signal callers expected to be available. Jay Cutler seems to have worn out his welcome in Chicago as the Bears are expected to move on from him. While he certainly comes with his warts he has the big arm that could flourish in Bruce Arians’ vertical system. Arians has the reputation of a quarterback whisperer of sorts and he could make Cutler a reclamation project similar to Palmer when Arizona first acquired him. Buccaneers backup Mike Glennon is also expected to test free agency. Glennon has 18 starts under his belt and is only 27 years old. He also posses the big-time arm that might appeal to Arians. The Cowboys are expected to either trade or release Tony Romo this offseason also. Romo is the best player of the three but comes with some serious injury concerns and at age 37, is easily the oldest of the bunch. That said, with a veteran team in place rolling the dice that Romo stays healthy may be their best route.