CBS’ La Canfora: Carson Palmer is barely a second-tier QB

Jun 7, 2016, 4:43 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2016, 3:58 pm
Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Carson Palmer runs drills  during NFL football practice, Tuesday, Ma...
Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Carson Palmer runs drills during NFL football practice, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at the team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

Carson Palmer had a career season in 2015, throwing for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns while posting a QB rating of 104.6. He was intercepted just 11 times — which is the fewest times he’s ever been picked off in a full season — and his average of 8.70 yards per attempt was also the best of his 12 seasons.

In a lot of ways, he re-established himself as one of the NFL’s elite passers.

Yet, for all the good Palmer did, his struggles in the postseason have led to some doubt, and at age 36, he does not appear poised to be the Cardinals’ long-time answer at the QB position.

Perhaps that’s why CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, in a piece separating the league’s 32 starting quarterbacks into seven different tiers, put Palmer in the second highest, which is for “Top pros, proven winners.”

Palmer was at the bottom of the tier, and the 11th-ranked QB overall.

I went back and forth with him between this tier and putting him in Tier 5. His exits from Cincy and Oakland never sat quite right with him, and his utter failures in the postseason are well chronicled. His regular-season renaissance with Bruce Arians lands him at the bottom of this tier, but it’s not with great conviction on my end.

Ahead of Palmer in the second tier are Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. While some of those QBs — Brees, Flacco and Manning — have experienced great postseason success, no one would accuse Romo and Rivers of being playoff superstars.

That said, while La Canfora’s rankings, or at least the reasoning behind his rankings, may be suspect, the idea that Palmer is not among the game’s top QBs is not one he is alone in having. Of course, while Palmer’s 2015 was a career year at an age in which QBs rarely step their game up, it could also be seen as the natural progression for a player who has seen his play improve pretty much every week since the Cardinals traded for him in 2013.


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CBS’ La Canfora: Carson Palmer is barely a second-tier QB