There is currently a battle between 2014 fourth round pick Logan Thomas and undrafted rookie Phillip Sims for the third quarterback spot on the Arizona Cardinals. Some might call it heated, but most should call it tepid at best, as it is a battle for the third string QB.
But while there is this battle, it might not even be for a spot on the 53-man roster. Yes, the Cardinals will want three quarterbacks on the team, but one might be a practice squad player, at least to start the year.
Head coach Bruce Arians told reporters on Thursday keeping only Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton on the active roster is a real possibility.
"I think it's always a possibility," he said. "It's kind of the norm now in the National Football League to have two and a guy on the practice squad. It wouldn't be out of the question."
Now the quote is not too definitive and he has said it before. He said it last year when it was a battle between Ryan Lindley and a then-rookie Thomas. The team ended up keeping three on the active roster.
Why is this year different?
Well, the commitment to the statement wasn't great by Arians, but the Cardinals head coach has talked about the depth at multiple positions -- at offensive and defensive line in particular. Arians wants to keep the best 53 players. A third quarterback probably doesn't qualify, especially when the defensive line depth could see two or three players getting cut who could contribute on any other roster.
Also, the offensive line situation is going to make it a little harder. Starting left guard Mike Iupati will be out for the first weeks of the season, so the team has to carry him. That means nine offensive linemen is likely on the roster. Bobby Massie won't even count in that number when his suspension comes around, so it might be 10 until he is moved to a suspended list.
At defensive line, a 3-4 team can keep as few as six , but the Cards might keep seven or eight ( a real possibility). You have to trim from other positions. Quarterback makes sense.
And when you look at who the quarterbacks are, you don't really have the fear that both will get claimed by other teams. At best, only one will, allowing the other to join the practice squad. And if the competition is as close as Arians says it is, maybe that is the way they go. They let the situation play out and if one of the two gets scooped up by another team, then the decision is easy. But, to be honest, I don't think there is really any chance either is picked up on waivers. One is an undrafted rookie who has shown a little something against fourth stringers and the other is a fourth round pick who many believe was a waste of a pick.
So with how the Cardinals have built this team, having two on the 53 might be the best way to go. It isn't necessarily a knock on either Thomas or Sims, but you want to use the 53 spots the best way you can. Keeping three quarterbacks might not be the best way for the Cardinals to go when they want to compete for a Super Bowl.