Arizona Cardinals are happy with the quarterback position on their team right now. That is something uncommon for the history of the team. Since coming to Arizona, really only two quarterbacks have put up numbers worth a damn. One is Kurt Warner and the other is Carson Palmer, who is the starter now. (Some will try and throw in Jake Plummer because of the 1998 playoff run, but if you look at his stats, he wasn't all that good. Dynamic? Yes. Good numbers? No.)
So it is reasonable to say the Cardinals are in a pretty good situation with Palmer, right? Sure, he is getting older, but he is playing at a high level, but we see quarterbacks be able to do that for a long time.
In their ranking of the quarterback situations for all 32 teams, the Cardinals are ranked near the bottom -- 25th out of the 32 teams.
Carson Palmer was one of the best players in the NFL last season, but ended on the sourest of notes, committing six turnovers in the Cardinals' NFC Championship Game loss. A finger injury was partly to blame, but rather than serving as a convenient excuse for his struggles that Sunday, it should serve as a reminder of Palmer's age and fragility. A true statue in the pocket, Palmer was limited to six games by ACL and nerve issues in 2014, and is one of the league's biggest injury risks under center. When you throw in the Cardinals' continued lack of a plan behind their starter, their quarterback situation becomes the most volatile this side of Romo. Arizona's 2016 ceiling is a Super Bowl title, but the floor is a losing campaign where the likes of Drew Stanton and Matt Barkley are forced to make over half the starts.
Some of the reasoning make sense. The rankings are based on the next three to five seasons. An older quarterback means putting them in the lower third. But that is not the case with the Steelers, Patriots or Saints, who also have aging signal callers in Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, all of whom are in the top 10 of these rankings.
If New Orleans has a top 10 QB situation -- with a declining Brees entering the final year of his contract on a team that has not been over .500 the last two seasons, how is it the Cardinals are 25th? Palmer put up record numbers last season and has been very, very productive dating back to the second half of the 2013 season.
The Cardinals are playing at a high level and Palmer, too. And Palmer is still under contract for another season.
How can the Cardinals' situation be that much worse than New England's or New Orleans'?
Palmer is not fragile. Palmer is not a statue in the pocket, either. And the situation is volatile after Palmer, comparing Arizona's situation to Dallas'? They must forget that Drew Stanton won five games as a starter in 2014. That's five more games than any backup won last season for Dallas.
And is the situation any less volatile in New England or New Orleans? Who is better equipped to go without their starter? New Orleans with Luke McCown? New England with Jimmy Garoppolo? Or Arizona with Drew Stanton?
No, the Cardinals do not have the greatest outlook at the position for the next three to five years. But because of the present and the play of Palmer, there is no way they should be ranked below teams with Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Kirk Cousins or Alex Smith.