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ESPN’s Clay: QB Brett Hundley staying with Cardinals makes sense

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Brett Hundley passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Quarterback Brett Hundley has never had a chance to win a starting quarterback competition.

Where and if that opportunity could arise in 2020 season isn’t obvious, and that is the complexity the Arizona Cardinals’ 2019 backup to Kyler Murray faces as free agency comes into view just about three weeks down the road.

ESPN’s Mike Clay ranks Hundley as the 13th-best free agent signal-caller who could be on the market starting March 18, but the writer predicts that the 27-year-old Chandler native could wind up back in Arizona before the free-agent negotiating period opens two days before that date.

Hundley is a terrific athlete but hasn’t shown to be a particularly good passer. He’s averaging 6.7 yards per carry and 5.6 yards per pass attempt in 18 career appearances.

Outlook: Hundley is a logical backup option for a team with an offensive system built around a running quarterback. An extension with Arizona would certainly make a lot of sense.

A fifth-round pick in 2015, the UCLA product played his first three NFL seasons behind Aaron Rodgers while on the Green Bay Packers. He got four games of mop-up duty in his second year and 11 games of action while Rodgers was hurt in 2017.

Hundley didn’t play as the Seattle Seahawks backup quarterback to Russell Wilson in 2018, but last season presented the opportunity to flash as Murray’s backup.

Appearing in three games in 2019, Hundley’s most notable contribution came on Dec. 22. He replaced Murray on the road against the Seahawks, completed 4 of 9 passes for 49 yards and added six carries for 35 yards as the Cardinals held off Seattle to win 27-13.

“I feel like I really made the most of every time I got to touch the ball this year,” Hundley said on Dec. 30.

It’s just a wonder if the Cardinals want Hundley back. Behind Murray, they have second-year undrafted quarterback Drew Anderson under contract and CFL star Chris Streveler, a multi-use athlete, signed to a futures deal.

“I love it here,” Hundley said after the season ended. “Me and Kyler have an awesome relationship. I think of him as a brother now. I think relationships like that are hard in the NFL. What I’ve come to figure out is you get close to somebody and then … you’re not here the next year and that’s when you start realizing the NFL is not for long.

“I would love to come back. I love the Cardinals. This is my home, born and raised here, but at the same time I’ve got to go where I’m wanted.”

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