Yes, it is time to look at each position group for the Arizona Cardinals. Starting with the quarterback position -- which was very strong this season -- we will look back at the performance of the season, the current status and what could happen moving forward.
So we start with the most important position on the team -- the quarterbacks.
Looking back at 2015
You really can't complain about how things played out at this position. Carson Palmer recovered nicely from his ACL tear and set records. He set team records in touchdowns, passing yards, passer rating and had the second best interception percentage in team history, bested only by his performance in only six games in 2014. It was the best quarterback season this team has ever seen.
As a result, Drew Stanton only saw mop-up duty and Matt Barkley only got to dress up in odd outfits after losing the passing competitions.
Carson Palmer: He is locked up for two more seasons. He ties up the cap quite a bit, too. In 2016 he will make a combined $12.7 million in salary and roster bonus. His cap hit is more than $17 million because of his restructure last March. Cutting him or trading him (or having him retire) would count more than $13 million against the cap.
In short, he will be on the team and start at quarterback in 2016.
Drew Stanton: Stanton will be an unrestricted free agent.
Matt Barkley: He has one year remaining on his rookie contract. He will earn $685K in salary and a $20K workout bonus. He can be cut before offseason workouts without any hit on the cap. If released later, he will count only the $20K for the workout bonus.
Looking ahead this offseason:
Arizona does not need a starting quarterback. They do, though, need a backup. Stanton is important here. Does he want to go sign where a team needs a starter? He is surely going to end up in a tough situation. I have heard he would like to return, but the market for a solid veteran backup is going to be in the $4.5 million range. Will Arizona want to pay him that much? Probably.
I would expect a three-year deal, which would perhaps bridge the gap from Palmer to future starter (or Stanton is good enough to continue as the starter), and it would run about $15 million.
If that is too much for the team, the question is whether the team believes Barkley can be the number two. From what I have heard...that's a big if. He was brought in to be here all season just in case the worst happened like in 2014. That way they didn't have Ryan Lindley or a rookie playing.
Barkley won't cost anything to keep around. He will be back, at least through training camp.
If Stanton signs elsewhere, then the Cards will bring in a veteran backup.
Since Palmer is 36, the Cards might take a long look at many quarterbacks. If a guy they like falls to the end of the first round, they would pull the trigger.
One of two things happened:
1. Stanton stays and the Cards draft a quarterback or bring in an undrafted rookie/unproven young player to compete with Barkley.
2. Stanton signs elsewhere and the Cards bring in a vet to back up Palmer and a rookie/unproven young player to compete with Barkley, of course, with the small possibility Barkley can compete for the backup spot.