Carson Palmer has failed to impress as the starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals through the first seven games, especially after his lackluster performance in the team’s 38-22 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday.
The offseason trade for Palmer, who’s thrown eight touchdowns to 13 interceptions, has been criticized by fans and media, but NFL.com’s Media Insider Ian Rapoport doesn’t think it’s fair to judge the acquisition in hindsight.
“I think it’s obvious the Cardinals thought he would be better,” Rapoport told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Friday. “Last year in Oakland, he had good numbers. He certainly looked like he’d be a good fit for this offense. He’s a dropback guy who can throw it down the field.”
The other point Rapoport made about the trade is how limited the options were at the time, and even players who were available and have down well for their teams weren’t considered upgrades over Palmer.
“It’s easy to point to Brian Hoyer now and say, ‘Oh they could’ve had Brian Hoyer,'” Rapoport said, referring to the Cleveland Browns’ QB. “But four months ago, Hoyer was a third-stringer on his third team who nobody wanted. So let’s not pretend it’s a situation where they gave up on the obvious future starter in Brian Hoyer.”
While Rapoport defended the trade, he also said it is clear Palmer isn’t a long-term solution and that the Cardinals probably won’t be able to get the two years out of him that was originally hoped. In fact, Rapoport added, he’s not sure Palmer sees a future here as well.
“You know, he almost retired once when he wouldn’t play for the Bengals,” Rapoport said. “He clearly didn’t want to play for the Raiders last year. This situation isn’t great. By the end of the year, I’m not sure he would want to return either.”
Rapoport believes Arizona will look heavily at the draft to find their franchise quarterback, and if they find a player they love, they’ll pull the trigger and start building around him.
As for the rest of this season, Rapoport said the Cardinals just need Palmer to play decent to be in the hunt for a winning year, but after that, it’s time to find the QB who can lead Arizona going forward.
“This is obviously a transition year, they will have a chance to improve and all that, but they obviously need a franchise quarterback, and they’re going to need to find somewhere,” Rapoport said, before adding he has faith in the new personnel department to find one.
“I would trust these guys now picking the next quarterback maybe more than I would’ve five years ago.”