Is he a former Heisman Trophy winner and number one overall draft pick who just needed to be in a quality environment to succeed, or is he a washed up 33-year-old whose arm strength isn't what it once was?
The Cardinals are banking on him being the first option, and ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski tends to agree.
"I view him very highly," Jaworski told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Thursday. "He got lost in the Black Hole. Oakland is an absolute mess; he had no chance, whatsoever.
Jaworski noted that Palmer spent more playing from behind last year than any QB in the league, which certainly did not help the passer succeed.
But even with that, Palmer still completed 61.1 percent of his passes for more than 4,000 yards with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Though the Raiders went 4-11 with him as a starter, many believe the team's struggles were not the quarterback's fault.
"It's difficult to compete at a high level when you're always playing uphill," Jaworski said. "Carson Palmer still has a tremendous skill-set, and I know Bruce wants to get the ball down the field. He doesn't like that dink-and-dunk type stuff.
"So he's got the guy that can still throw the ball with accuracy down the field, has a good, quick release."
Acquired for practically nothing in the offseason, the Cardinals are hoping the veteran will rediscover what made him successful in Cincinnati playing alongside skill position talents like Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and Rob Housler.
Jaworski thinks he will, and that those pass catchers will be very happy with the guy tasked with getting them the ball.
"These guys will get the football, they will get it accurately, they will be able to run after the catch," he said. "Carson Palmer is a huge addition to this team."