The Arizona Cardinals’ troubles at quarterback are far from over.
The Cardinals ran four under qualified signal callers onto the field a year ago and the team’s main priority from now until the beginning of the 2011 season will be making sure that doesn’t happen again.
That will be easier said than done, however, with the lockout impeding any potential trades or free agent acquisitions. Arizona’s trials and tribulations under center are set to continue until the rift between the owners and players is finally settled.
After passing on a quarterback in the draft, the Cardinals will be tasked with finding new blood elsewhere. As expected, Cam Newton was never an option and Arizona passed on Blaine Gabbert, despite him being available at pick No. 5.
The decision to hold off on a new signal caller continued as names such as Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick came off the board prior to going back on the clock in Round 2. The Cardinals also passed on prospects that fell longer than expected like Ryan Mallett, Ricky Stanzi and Tyrod Taylor.
Given the poor play a year ago and a huge need at the most important position on the field, countless reports came about leading up to the draft. Now with those out of the way – most notably involving Gabbert with the fifth overall pick – trade rumors are surfacing at a steady rate.
Quarterback after quarterback has been rumored to be headed to the desert. The Cardinals apparently have deals in place to bring Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, and even Carson Palmer to Arizona.
According to these reports, as soon as the lockout is lifted, the Cardinals’ problems under center will be over.
Not so fast.
Ask any Cardinal fan if they’re confident in the team’s plan at quarterback and they would probably say no. Arizona’s front office ignored the same problems heading into last season and the two-time defending NFC West champions never had a chance at making a run for a third straight division title.
The latest rumor circulating states that the Cardinals have inquired about the services of Orton. Denver coach John Fox has already named Orton the starter, but with Tim Tebow lurking in the shadows the Broncos might decide to roll the dice with the former Heisman Trophy winner, thus making Orton expendable.
Orton is the latest QB rumored
to be on Arizona's radar.
Although there are several potential plans in motion, nothing is set in stone. The Philadelphia Eagles might decide to keep Kolb. Palmer might be forced to retire rather than being dealt by the Cincinnati Bengals. Another team – possibly the division-rival Seattle Seahawks – might make a run for Orton.
If any of these scenarios take place, the Cardinals could be left on the outside looking in at quarterback for the second consecutive season.
Whenever the lockout finally ends, Arizona will need to act swift and precise in order to land its primary target. Given the struggles of the Cardinals’ front office to reel in top-notch talent, there’s a good chance free-agent-to-be Marc Bulger will end up being the new starting quarterback. There will be no trade necessary for Bulger and a short-term deal should be fairly easy to work out.
While Bulger would certainly be an upgrade over anyone currently on the roster, it would be somewhat of a disappointment considering the other names that have been mentioned. With a little luck, Kolb or Orton could develop into a centerpiece of Arizona’s offense for years to come. Additionally, Palmer would bring a better set of credentials and more excitement than Bulger.
At this point, Bulger would be nothing more than a stop-gap to the future in John Skelton or whoever becomes the quarterback in waiting for the Cardinals. But considering who lined up under center a year ago, Bulger would be a welcomed sight for fans in Arizona, at least for a little while.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
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