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Updated Apr 15, 2011 - 9:12 am

ESPN's Clayton thinks Bulger will be Cardinals QB

Former West Virginia quarterback Mark Bulger talks to fans before the start of a NCAA college football game against UNLV on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010 in Morgantown, W.Va. Bulger, now with the Baltimore Ravens was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame before the game. West Virginia defeated UNLV 49-10.

The starting quarterback for the 2011 Arizona Cardinals will be who?

ESPN NFL Insider John Clayton thinks the Cardinals could very well be going the free agent route in securing their signal caller for next season.

"I still think it will probably end up being Mark Bulger," Clayton told Sports 620 KTAR's Doug & Wolf as they came out of the gates starting the conversation with that exact question. "Although I still wonder if he is going to move all this way west. I know him real well. He would prefer to stay east coast. I know he would like to get a chance to get back and start [but] I don't know if he's going to come all the way to Phoenix.

"If that would be the case then I guess the [Kevin] Kolb possibilities are there but the cost is going to be a first-round pick and a lot of money."

With that being said, Clayton doesn't hide that he feels there will be a veteran under center for the Cardinals in the coming season.

Denver's Kyle Orton is a more likely possibility when talking about a trade though.

"The best possible trade, I think as far as value, would be Kyle Orton," Clayton said. "I think he could be had for a second, maybe a third-round pick, maybe even a bit little less depending on how the shuffle of quarterbacks goes at the draft.

"If I was making the suggestions I would say Orton then Bulger. I still think the price on Kolb for a first-rounder is a little bit steep."

Clayton also mentions Donovan McNabb but not much interest there.

Earlier this week Clayton mentioned Matt Hasselbeck being out of Seattle and the Cardinals as a potential landing spot.

"Can he get above his current salary of about $8 million in the open market," Clayton asks when talking about the Seahawks allowing him to test the market. "That's a big debate, he's 35-years-old.

"Now it looks like you're not going to see him go to San Francisco, they are going to go in a different direction. ... I think Tennessee is a very, very viable option. I would say Minnesota is a viable option. ... I think Arizona would probably be somewhere in that third or fourth option. The Cardinals would explore other options than Matt because of the price. He makes $8 million on his last contract and he, probably like most players, is going to want a little bit more and I don't know if they would rather go to eight, nine, maybe 10 millions dollars."

It seems the only question in his mind is, first, which one do they want, and second, how much are they willing to spend -- and give up -- for the one that they want.

With two weeks to go before the NFL Draft many mock drafts still have the Cardinals taking a quarterback with the No. 5 overall pick.

Once the draft comes and goes -- specifically the first round -- the question of who will be taking snaps for the Cardinals in 2011 will be clearer but not much clearer.

If Clayton is right and the Cardinals end up with a veteran as their quarterback it will have to wait until they can actually talk to players -- or other teams -- about making a move.


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