The Arizona Cardinals have a number of free agents this offseason. One is backup quarterback Drew Stanton, who was the very first free agent the team signed in 2013 after Bruce Arians was hired as head coach. Three years later and eight starts under his belt in 2014, helping the Cardinals stay afloat when Carson Palmer missed games with two injuries, he is now in a position to leave and pursue a starting job or return as a backup.
Keeping Stanton won't be cheap. He was 5-3 as a starter. Chad Henne, the backup in Jacksonville, just signed a new deal to remain a Jaguar for two more seasons. He is 5-17 as a starter over the last three years and got two years and $8 million.
How much will it take to retain Stanton? After all, he is in a position where he could go compete for a starting job. Of course, if he leaves, then the Cardinals would have no one with any significant experience to back up Carson Palmer. They would be left with Matt Barkley and his zero career starts.
It would seem far-fetched that the Cardinals would move forward with Barkley as the backup when they have Super Bowl goals. Stanton has at least shown he can keep the Cardinals afloat and help the team win games. In addition to his 5-3 record as a starter for the Cardinals, he also threw the winning touchdown pass in the game in which Palmer tore his ACL in 2014.
If Henne is getting $4 million, how much is Stanton worth?
Keeping him will certainly take at least a two-year contract. It might take three, which could potentially set him up to compete for the starting job after two seasons, when Palmer's contract voids.
My thoughts are it will take two years, $9 million or three years and $14 million, and it would be worth it.
As long as the Cardinals are in a Super Bowl window, you cannot risk turning the team over to someone with no starting experience, should Palmer have to sit out a game or two.
Likewise, if Stanton walks, it will cost that much to bring in any quarterback worth anything as a backup...and he would have to learn the offense, something we have seen is not the easiest thing to do.
Should the Cardinals re-sign him? Should he go elsewhere? If he leaves, who should be the backup?