With Alex Smith not available, could Cardinals’ focus shift to Kirk Cousins?

Feb 1, 2018, 7:30 AM

This Dec. 24, 2017, file photo shows Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins scrambling during...

This Dec. 24, 2017, file photo shows Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins scrambling during an NFL football game in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Tenally, File)

The Cardinals’ quarterback search took an unexpected turn after the Kansas City Chiefs agreed to trade quarterback Alex Smith to Washington.

Smith was a reported target for the Cardinals to fill the void at quarterback, but will now join the Redskins in exchange for a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller.

However, the trade cannot be finalized until the start of the NFL’s new year on March 14.

With Smith no longer available, attention has turned to Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins and where he will land for the 2018 season. There have been multiple reports linking Cousins to numerous NFL teams, including the Cardinals, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, and Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jets have emerged as a favorite to land the 29-year-old, but the Cardinals are still an intriguing team thanks to their already eventful offseason.

Team president Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim addressed the previously vacant head coaching position by hiring former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

With Wilks came Mike McCoy, Al Holcomb and Jeff Rodgers as the team’s offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators.

Sure, a new coaching staff could pose numerous questions, but Wilks and McCoy have made it well known that they plan to implement an offense that best fits the Cardinals’ players.

Smith was the initial favorite due to his flexibility in different offensive schemes, but according to NFL insider Mark Schlereth, Cousins should not be overlooked to take over the Cardinals’ offense.

“If I was the (general manager) of that team, I would look for a veteran quarterback much like you guys had in Carson Palmer,” he told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta earlier this month. “There is two that are potentially available that could change your franchise. Kirk Cousins is one.

“I think he is a top-10 quarterback in this league.”

Schlereth referred to Smith as the other option for the Cardinals, at the time unknowing if Washington would elect to use the franchise tag on Cousins for the third consecutive offseason.

It’s possible the Cardinals will have to address the quarterback situation sooner rather than later given how early the Chiefs and Redskins worked out the trade, but exactly how do they plan on doing that?

Keim said when the Cardinals introduced Wilks as the new head coach that they would be “aggressive at that position.”

Then again, they could look to the draft and target a young quarterback with the hopes of him stepping up and finding success early in his career.

Exactly what the Cardinals will decide to do remains to be seen, but with the pace of other moves around the NFL, the answer may come sooner than expected.

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