Arizona Cardinals free agency flurry puts spotlight on Carson Palmer

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals have addressed some of their needs through free agency, and with the draft upcoming, all of the pressure falls on one player.

The Arizona Cardinals have been one of the major "winners" in free agency and it's easy to see why.

Signing Jared Veldheer for pennies if he plays up to his potential, addressing the speed receiver need while nailing down the kick and punt returner role to boot.

On top of that the Cardinals have done a great job of locking up their own free agents, outside of Karlos Dansby, and still have some money left over to maybe address the right side of the offensive line and maybe even the safety need on the team.

That puts the spotlight squarely on one man: Carson Palmer

The Cardinals and Bruce Arians have put much faith into what Palmer can do for this team.

In terms of career numbers, Palmer is in good company with names like Eli Manning, Troy Aikman, Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger, but there is one thing that separates those names from a guy like Palmer.

Winning.

The idea that a team stat can define a players career is maddening at times, is Dan Marino a bad quarterback because he never won a Super Bowl?

Ken Anderson never won the big one, he must be awful.

Unfortunately for Carson Palmer, the reality is that wins end up defining your legacy as a quarterback, and more importantly you can never be truly great without winning big games.

The Arizona Cardinals have done an excellent job of putting talent around Palmer this off season, and there's more work to be done, they need to shore up the right side of the line, find an edge rusher, and someone that can cover the tight end, but they've built a team good enough to compete.

In the NFL, more than ever, the quarterback defines the team, and the team only goes as far the quarterback takes them.

People look at Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick and scoff at the idea that the quarterback is still the most important piece, but Kaepernick has kept the 49ers afloat during a year with injuries plaguing their offense, and Russell Wilson gives the Seahawks an explosiveness that few other teams have.

Much has been made of the Cardinals offensive line failing Palmer in 2013, and maybe they did, but the front office saw that and improved it.

There are concerns about the weapons Palmer has, that's silly to me, but the Cardinals have started to address that, and likely will continue to through the draft.

The Cardinals defense, while dominant at times, had their issues, while there hasn't been any specific signing to help YET (Antonio Cromartie?) but they will find that later in free agency or in the draft.

The team will never be perfect, no team is, but their biggest question mark going forward is whether or not Carson Palmer is a winner (He's nine game under .500 for his career and, more importantly, 0-2 in the playoffs).

That may not be fair to Palmer, the man that has thrown for 4,000 yards or more with three teams, but in the end, those numbers won't matter.

No matter how many yards he throws for, or how many touchdowns he passes for, the only number that will matter at the end is wins... and not the regular season kind.

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