Free agents cannot officially sign with new teams until Wednesday afternoon, but as usual lots of moves are all but done in the “tampering” period prior to Wednesday. That includes the quarterback merry-go-round, in which the Cardinals are forced to take part (given that they do not have one for 2018 yet).
The big move came Tuesday morning, when news leaked that Kirk Cousins will end up exactly where everyone posited he would — the Vikings. That came the day after news that the Broncos would end up with Case Keenum. The trades that also cannot be completed until Wednesday are out there, so the Browns traded for Tyrod Taylor and the Redskins traded for Alex Smith. The Bills also will make a trade with the Bengals that got them the 12th overall pick (ahead of the Cardinals at 15) and still have 22 overall, giving them ammunition to get even higher in the draft. As of now, the Jets, like the Cards, still don’t have a starter.
None of these moves preclude a ton of teams from potentially taking a QB in the draft in the first round. Cousins and Keenum always figured to be the first two FA QBs off the board. So now we see where Sam Bradford ends up, and Josh McCown, and A.J. McCarron, and Teddy Bridgewater.
One other thing to remember (after Ian Rapoport put out there that the Cards could have interest in Mike Glennon when he is cut by the Bears, as expected) is that the Cards need multiple QBs. That isn’t just a starter. You want a backup too, and a veteran one even if you draft a guy high.
And to think, free agency hasn’t even officially started yet.
Tags: A.J. McCarron, Alex Smith, Bills, Broncos, Case Keenum, Josh McCown, Kirk Cousins, Mike Glennon, quarterbacks, Redskins, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor
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The Scouting combine is the perfect place for quarterback speculation, with all the top draft possibilities coming in to talk, all the teams on hand to watch and speak to the media, all the agents there to whisper things and free agency coming just a week after its conclusion. It’s fun to wonder about anyway, but important since the Cardinals don’t have a quarterback, period, as of now.
There was plenty suggested about what free agents might go where, what could happen to first domino Kirk Cousins (the Cardinals have been named as a potential suitor, but Cousins was always thought to be drawing many) and what kind of money he could make, and where all the other QBs might fit after that: Case Keenum, A.J. McCarron, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Josh McCown, and, of course, whether Drew Stanton and/or Blaine Gabbert could still end up in the mix here in Arizona. All those puzzle pieces then impact the draft and the top names there.
What might be more interesting right now is to try and pinpoint not the individual quarterbacks per se, but the teams that might be interested in drafting a young QB. It might not impact how free agency plays out directly, but it could turn some free-agent decisions for those getting bridge QBs into higher pressure situations come the draft. For instance, the Giants already have Eli Manning, and could take RB Saquon Barkley second overall. But a quarterback has to be in play there, given Manning’s age.
Looking at the league, however, you can make the case — to varying degrees of urgency, of course — that 15 teams in the first round (and the Browns and Bills each have two picks in the first round) could consider a young QB going forward. And that doesn’t include the Cardinals. Some are obvious: The Browns, Broncos, Jets and Vikings — and Cards — have to have a QB (if they don’t have someone like Cousins who would be a long-term solution.) Some teams need to groom someone behind a QB who is older: The Giants, Redskins, Chargers, Saints, Steelers and Patriots. And then there are the teams that might be looking to move on from their current situation: The Dolphins, Bengals, Ravens, Bills and Jaguars.
That’s a lot of places a QB could go — and another reason it’s dangerous for a team to think they can get the guy they want into the second round, when a team might just spend a late first-rounder to grab a guy.
Tags: A.J. McCarron, Blaine Gabbert, Case Keenum, draft, Drew Stanton, Josh McCown, Kirk Cousins, quarterback situation, Sam Bradford, Teddy Brdigewater
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The news broke Thursday that the 49ers were signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a five-year extension worth around $137 million with hefty guarantees (I’ve seen one report of $74M, and another for $90M, so …) It isn’t a surprise that the Niners would pay up for Jimmy G, because that was inevitable once he played well down the stretch. San Francisco has lots of cap room and it would make sense to front-load a big deal, because they can absorb it (we will have to wait and see on the structure), and besides, it became clear he was definitely going to be the Niners’ long-term QB.
Jimmy G! Show me the money!!!! Holy moly donut shop!!!
— ♛Chandler Jones (@chanjones55) February 8, 2018
Now, of course, we’ll see the trickle down effect on more accomplished quarterbacks, like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees and even Kirk Cousins as they all wait for their next contracts. But bigger picture, it illustrates the potential impact of being able to find that young (i.e. drafted) quarterback that can hopefully help you sooner rather than later, as opposed to getting one established but much more expensive. The Niners, with a ton of cap room, are likely fine for now. But it’s why the Seahawks ascended to where they were for a few years when Russell Wilson was on a rookie deal, why the Cowboys can (should?) contend with Dak Prescott on a cheaper deal and why even the Rams and Eagles are in good spots even with highly drafted QBs. Jimmy G, because his “bargain” years were used up on the bench behind Tom Brady, will never provide such a lift in roster-building.
It’s also why teams needing QBs — like the Cardinals, for instance — benefit from finding someone in the draft. Do that, and the money can be spent elsewhere in trying to create a true contender.
Tags: 49ers, Aaron Rodgers, contracts, Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson
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Trades aren’t allowed in the NFL for another month and a half, but once March 14 does arrive, there is a doozy waiting for completion. News broke Tuesday night that the Chiefs were trading quarterback Alex Smith to Washington for a third-round pick and emerging star cornerback Kendall Fuller (and will be giving Smith a giant contract extension, since he was heading into the final year of his current deal.)
It means one potential QB for the QB-less Cardinals is off the table. (They reportedly had inquired.) But there is a trickle-down effect. The Chiefs, of course, don’t need a quarterback. They already have Pat Mahomes. But the Redskins, who at 13th in the draft pick two slots in front of the Cardinals, don’t need a quarterback anymore. Smith’s arrival means Washington will allow Kirk Cousins to finally reach free agency, so he will be available if the Cards so choose (although expensive.) But if Cousins goes somewhere, like for instance, the Broncos, Denver won’t need a QB either. And the Broncos currently are slotted fifth in the draft.
There is still a long time before the Cards can officially do much at quarterback, barring re-signing one of their own free-agents-to-be. But starting with the Smith move, the QB carousel has begun.
Tags: Alex Smith, Broncos, Chiefs, Kendall Fuller, Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Redskins
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One year with Carson Palmer taking every snap, and it’s easy to forget what it can be like with quarterback uncertainty. Then a week like this happens and the memories all come crashing back. No one is saying this is like 2012 all over again, when Ken Whisenhunt, scrambling for a quarterback, kept mixing and matching. In fact, even that team never really had a situation like Bruce Arians is facing now, when injuries have precluded him from naming a starter here on Friday.
Realistically, both Carson Palmer and his funky shoulder and Drew Stanton, coming off a concussion, have injuries that could “go away” and then rear up again on Sunday morning. As of Friday afternoon, both guys are taking tests to see where they are in their recovery. It’s looked good up until this point, but it makes sense caution is the buzzword in this instance.
I will not be surprised if any of the three is behind center for the Cardinals’ first snap Sunday. There is still an eternity until 1:25 p.m. Sunday.
UPDATE: Multiple reports Friday night said Stanton passed his concussion test. That does not necessarily mean Stanton would start.
— If Logan Thomas does have to play? Larry Fitzgerald has one word: “Patience.”
“Got to be patient,” Fitz said. “Just try to make plays for them. Nothing more soothing for a young person than when you make a play and kind of be a security blanket.”
— Speaking of Fitz, he said he’s not thinking of his slow start. Of course he’s going to say that out loud. Of course I think he’s thinking about it. He’s a guy who wants to get to the Hall of Fame. A season playing out like this is not helping that cause.
— With everything going on around the quarterbacks and the injuries and the like, there’s been no room to mention the return of wide receiver Andre Roberts to University of Phoenix Stadium. Roberts signed with the Redskins as a free agent after four seasons in Arizona. “If something happens to Pierre (Garcon) or DeSean (Jackson), we feel just as good as him outside as our first or second guy,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “Really like him. Good kid, too.”
Roberts thought he was going to Washington to be the No. 2 behind Garcon. Then Jackson was acquired, and Roberts was stuck as the No. 3 guy again, exactly the situation he was trying to escape in Arizona.
— Last week’s offensive stats, thanks to needing to play the raw Thomas, were probably an outlier. But the Cardinals went just 3-for-16 on third downs last week. It was awful. That cannot happen. This defense needs time to rest on the sideline.
— Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin wasn’t thrilled with the run game last week. It’ll be more important if Thomas has to start, but even if Palmer or Stanton plays, the Cards need more on the ground.
“I don’t care who is playing quarterback,” Goodwin said. “We didn’t do a very good job last week. You’d get a positive run and then all of sudden you’d get minus-two on the next play.
“It’s going to take some of the pressure off (Logan) if he plays. Have to get positive yards on first and second downs. We had 12 runs of two (yards) or less. Not close to being good enough.”
— The Cardinals haven’t run enough, Arians said. Asked about getting more carries for Stepfan Taylor or even working Marion Grice, Arians said the Cards need to be more effective on the ground in the first place and then see where Andre Ellington is physically. Because at this point, Ellington is the man, Arians said. Ellington had 16 of the Cardinals’ 19 rushing attempts in Denver.
“(Andre) felt very, very fresh out there,” Arians said. “And if he’s fresh, he’s staying in.”
— Stanton and Redskins starting QB Kirk Cousins have a good relationship. Cousins was an incoming freshman at Michigan State at the same time Stanton was just leaving as QB. “Went out to dinner with him a couple of times when he was in school, talked with him on the phone and via text,” Stanton said. “I don’t want to be one of those guys who tries to tell him how to do everything.”
Said Cousins, “I’ve always looked up to him as a guy who had a lot of success at Michigan State and then as a high draft pick as somebody I could follow in the footsteps of,” Cousins said.
— The Redskins have beaten the Cardinals eight times in a row. The last Cardinals’ win? The game that might’ve clinched University of Phoenix Stadium.
— Hard to believe that before the Cardinals interviewed Arians for the head coaching job, they interviewed Gruden. Two things I remember from that day, when Gruden met with the media. If you closed your eyes, there were definitely times he sound like his brother Jon, and he didn’t exactly come across like he was super excited about the job. Now he’s got the Washington job and he’ll be on the opposite sideline.
Now, who he’ll be trying to defend as the Cardinals’ quarterback … well, I guess we’ll see, won’t we.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Andre Roberts, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Harold Goodwin, Jay Gruden, Kirk Cousins, Larry Fitzgerald, Logan Thomas, Redskins
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