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SI NFL insider: Cardinals did well with Carson Palmer trade

LISTEN: Peter King, Sports Illustrated

According to Sports Illustrated NFL writer Peter King, who was a guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Wednesday, the market for quarterback Carson Palmer had just two teams shopping.

One was the Arizona Cardinals, who ultimately acquired the signal caller. The other? Division-rival San Francisco, who bowed out of the race when they traded for Browns QB Colt McCoy.

“There were only two teams interested, and as soon as the 49ers traded for Colt McCoy then the Cardinals’ position got a lot better in terms of what they were going to have to trade,” King said. “Because clearly they weren’t going to have to trade much at all because there was only one team interested now.”

King said the notion that the Cardinals should have let the Raiders just cut Palmer and try to pick him up as a free agent instead of via trade ran the risk of a team uninterested in a trade but interested in the QB may jump into the race.

“And who knows that would be,” King said. “Is it possible then that maybe a team like Cleveland or maybe a team like Buffalo, neither of whom have their quarterback situations finalized, could they jump in there?”

So, the Cardinals agreed to surrender a conditional seventh-round pick in 2014 as well as swap a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft for a seventh-round pick. They got their quarterback and, if you don’t count the contract they signed him to, didn’t have to give up much.

“Look, if you were to ask me right now what’s the one team in the NFL that I think is the best fit for Carson Palmer,” King said, “I think it’s the Arizona Cardinals.”

King had two reasons. One was Cardinals coach Bruce Arians and his style of offense, which calls for the quarterback to throw the ball down the field rather than try and pick up yardage via short routes.

“Carson Palmer has been on a quest the last few years to show people that he can play any offense,” King said. “People have questioned his arm strength, which I still think he has plenty of, so that makes him a good fit anyway.

“And then the second reason is that there aren’t many people in the NFL who a quarterback would rather play with than Larry Fitzgerald.”

King pointed to Fitzgerald’s desperation to play with a good quarterback, which he hasn’t been able to do since Kurt Warner retired in 2010, as another reason why this could work.

The writer made sure to explain he’s not necessarily predicting the Cardinals to win a lot of games and challenge for the NFC West. In fact, he said it would not be a surprise to see Arizona be better than their record will indicate if only because the division “got impossible overnight.”

“Clearly, as you look at it right now, I think anybody who would look at this team would say that this is the best — by far — potential fourth-place team, if they do finish fourth, that we’ve seen in a long time,” he said.

That, he added, comes down to how well Palmer plays, but until then all one can do is judge the move as it is. And, King says, the Cardinals did well.

“Among the guys who were available this offseason, there was only one smart choice for Arizona,” he said. “And that is Carson Palmer.”

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