Palmer, Fitzgerald headline PFF top Cardinals WAR over last decade
It’s really rather unsurprising: The Pro Bowl quarterback and all-time great wide receiver are the Arizona Cardinals leaders in wins above replacement (WAR) over the last decade, according to Pro Football Focus’ measurements.
Despite playing just five seasons with the team, Carson Palmer had the highest WAR among Cardinals, PFF reported.
The second-highest was Larry Fitzgerald, who has played 16 seasons with Arizona.
Palmer, who played three full seasons on the Cardinals and had injuries limit him to less than half the year in two of them, threw for at least 4,200 yards in all three complete seasons and, in total, had a completion percentage of 62.5%.
In 2015, his best season, Palmer threw for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns and led the Cardinals to a 13-3 record. With Palmer at the helm, Arizona went 38-21-1 in total.
Fitzgerald has missed only two games over the last 10 seasons and made seven Pro Bowls.
During that time, he averaged just over 1,000 yards and 85 catches per season.
No. 3 on PFF’s list was cornerback Patrick Peterson, who has also been on the team for nearly the full decade after being drafted fifth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
This past season, in which Peterson was suspended six games for PED use, was the first time in his career in which he was not a Pro Bowler.
Those first three on the list were obvious ones. The fourth was a former Cardinals star who wasn’t on the team as long as Fitzgerald or Peterson have been, but made a tremendous impact when he did play.
Most Valuable Arizona Cardinals over the past decade per PFF WAR
1. Carson Palmer
2. Larry Fitzgerald
3. Patrick Peterson
4. Tyrann Mathieu
5. Adrian Wilson pic.twitter.com/ptxu2fgDBu
— PFF (@PFF) June 8, 2020
Tyrann Mathieu, who played five years on the Cardinals but had injury issues limit him to just one 16-game season, was fourth on the list.
The free safety was a do-it-all defender who was an All-Pro in 2015 after recording five interceptions in 14 games.
Though Mathieu didn’t have as many games under his belt as some other Cardinals players, his impact on the field was undeniable.
The fifth and final athlete on PFF’s list hasn’t suited up for the Cardinals since 2012, and by then his prime was behind him, but he still played almost every game.
Safety Adrian Wilson was No. 5 on the list. Over his 2010, ’11 and ’12 seasons, he made two Pro Bowls, had four interceptions and 28 passes defended.