USA TODAY Sports
One ESPN insider has the Cardinals among the five most likely destinations for the snubbed 49ers quarterback.
The Arizona Cardinals have a quarterback problem. Alex Smith has a problem. The San Francisco 49ers sort of have a problem. Smith should be starting at quarterback for some team. Some might argue that he should still be the guy for the 49ers, who are set to play in the Super Bowl. He is due to make a decent amount of money, more than you want to pay a backup, and he wants to start somewhere.
Are you connecting the dots?
You aren't the only one. ESPN's Chris Sprow, in an Insider article (you have to have an Insider subscription to read the entire piece) about the top five fits for Smith, he puts the Cardinals as the fifth best fit.
The Cardinals should be ready to accept Kevin Kolb as a sunk cost and mitigate the terrifying cap hits he represents in 2013 and beyond if he remains on the roster. He's far too great a financial bet for them to maintain on the roster. The Arizona offense could also make great strides in 2013 if it can nail down a consistent quarterback. Tackles Nate Potter and Bobby Massie were bad early (particularly Massie, who really needed more time to develop) but showed marked improvement in the final quarter of the 2012 season. Another addition along that line could mean a far higher level of expectations for the offense in 2013. Ryan Lindley and John Skelton have shown flashes, but each lacks a level of consistent accuracy that coaches need. It stands to reason the 49ers might not be thrilled about shipping a QB they developed to a division rival, but all options should be on the table for the Cardinals, who have ranked 31st, 28th and 32nd in the NFL in passing DVOA going back to 2010. Ugly.
Had Ken Whsienhunt still been the head coach this season, I would buy that fit.
However, with Arians being a guy that wants to push the ball down the field, I don't know how good a fit Smith would be. There are throws that he won't do and arm strength is not his strong suit. However, we must give him his due. His play against the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs last season was phenomenal. He was pushing the ball down the field more this season and had a ridiculous QB rating before going down with a concussion, the one that lose him his job.
Would be be an upgrade at QB? Certainly. Could he lead the Cardinals to the playoffs? I have no doubt, especially with the defense that the Cards had this season.
The question for me is whether he would be a fit in the eyes of Arians. He wants someone more than a game manager, although he does want that quarterback to be able to manage a game. He just wants that and a bit more.
Under Arians, is Smith really as much of a fit? After all, to trade for him would be to give up draft picks, and the Cards need to add young, cheap talent.
What do you think? Would Smith fit here under Arians? Tell us in the comments.
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