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Cardinals GM Keim: ‘We have to identify a franchise quarterback’

LISTEN: Steve Keim, Cardinals general manager

It’s no secret the Cardinals could use a younger option at quarterback.

Though Carson Palmer is returning for the 2017 season, he is 37 years old and has considered retirement.

Even if that does not come in the next year, as the veteran is under contract through 2018 and he said there’s no guarantee this will be his final season. Still, it would behoove the Cardinals to find a successor at some point soon.

Head coach Bruce Arians said after the season it was a goal of his, and Steve Keim, who was a guest of Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday as part of Newsmakers Week, agreed.

“There isn’t a day that I don’t think about it,” he said. “To put this organization in a position to have success for a long time, there’s no doubt we have to identify a franchise quarterback.

“To say that is easier said than done because very few exist.”

The Cardinals are currently slated to pick 13th in the upcoming draft, which could put them in line to nab someone like Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer or North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, the players commonly viewed as the top passers available.

There are also intriguing prospects in Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes and California’s Davis Webb, both of whom could rise up draft boards over the next couple months.

“As I’ve said many times, there’s probably seven great quarterbacks, 10 you can win with in the NFL, and everybody else is playing musical chairs,” Keim added. “So we have to challenge ourselves as evaluators, as coaches, as an organization, to find the next guy.”

The last time the Cardinals drafted a quarterback was 2014, when they chose Logan Thomas out of Virginia Tech in the fourth round. He lasted just more than a season with the team.

As for the last time the franchise chose a passer in the first round? You’ll have to go back to 2006, when Matt Leinart was the pick at No. 10 overall.

“When you look at players at that position, for me, the great ones, I feel like you know,” Keim said. “The other ones, I feel like it’s a projection and you’re hoping that they can pan out. That’s the hard part of it, is to pull the trigger in the first round and take a quarterback that you’re not convinced that he is a franchise guy.

“Well now all of a sudden if you miss on him, which, looking at statistics, there’s a great chance of missing on a quarterback. Now it sets the organization back two, three, four years because you have to give that player a chance to succeed, and it’s going to take time. And while that’s taking time, you’re losing football games.”

Keim went on to say they were “extremely fortunate” to land Palmer the way they did, because that move put them in the position they are in now.

“Yet at the same time, to have success the next five, 10 years, we have to identify that next guy.”

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