Cardinals Roster Review: Quarterbacks


This is the first article in a series that will play out over the next couple weeks about taking a review of the Arizona Cardinals roster. We’re going to be break it down position by position and discuss which players we would keep and which ones we would let go. We’ll include salary information from so we can see the total financial picture of each decision. That being said, let’s get going with a look at the three quarterbacks and their 2014 cap hits.

Carson Palmer: Base Salary $8 million, Bonus $2 million, Cap Hit $10 million, Dead Money $6 million

Drew Stanton:Base Salary $1.75 million, Bonus $667K, Misc $250K Cap Hit $2.66 million, Dead Money $1.34 million

Ryan Lindley: Base Salary $570K, Bonus 26K, Cap Hit $596K, Dead Money $52K

There are your three Arizona quarterbacks with their financial ramifications in bold if they are released. Dead money refers to money that will count against the salary cap between this year and next year. Currently, Arizona is dealing with around $10 million of dead money which shrinks the cap considerably.

Lindley looks he should be a casualty here. He didn’t hit the field in 2013 and he looked weak as a rookie last season. Lindley threw seven interceptions and no touchdown passes in limited game action. The only good thing about him is that his rookie contract is very cap friendly.  Lindley should be cut since he’s not shown anything that says he can have success at the NFL level.

Stanton is a mystery to me. He hasn’t thrown a pass in the league in three full seasons and yet his cap hit is more than $2.5 million. Huh? What? Really? Yeah. The downside of Stanton is his crazy contract for a guy who has thrown as many passes in the NFL as I have. This could also be his last chance to be in the league so waiving him might end his playing days in the league. If he can’t show he can play well during the 2014 season, I would expect him to get cut and free up more than $1 million for other pieces to the puzzle.

Palmer is a tough decision. Arizona doesn’t have any one better. It’s more like a Palmer-has-us-pinned-to-the wall with the contract he has situation. His $6 million in dead money would force Arizona to take a long hard look at releasing or trading Palmer. His interceptions nearly matched his touchdown output. Palmer needs to play like he did in the second half of the season to justify keeping on the roster. It would be helpful if Palmer would restructure his contract since he is one of three players who will be a cap hit of $10 million or more next season. It will also be his final season before becoming a free agent so he will be playing for what might be his final contract in professional football. It might be a little extra motivation for the former first overall pick and Arizona might be able to ride that to more success next season.

It should also be worth noting that both Palmer and Stanton were contracts negotiated in the Bruce Arians/Steve Keim era. We’ll also point that out as we go forward and see how much things vary between the current Arians-Keim era and the former regime.

So, what would you do? Which players would you keep or cut? Let us know in the comments below. We’ll also keep running totals about what’s been committed to salaries and team needs so that will serve as a primer into free agency.

Next time, we’ll take a look at the running back position.

Committed Salary: $10 million; New Dead Money $1.39 million; Team needs: QB2


You can see the entire Arizona salary table here.

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  • Davian C

    Carson Palmer in the overall big picture, was a valuable asset to the Cardinals this year. The attitude is always to focus on the failures. But with little RB production, outside of Ellington, an aging Fitzgerald and Floyd being the only legitimate targets this year, and both of those guys battling injuries, often Carson found himself throwing to 3rd string TEs or getting decked by opposing DEs. But he still managed to make some amazing plays, particularly in the second half of the season. Yes he threw mutliple Ints in Seattle, but we forget he threw the winning TD too. We forget he put up 400 yards in the finale against SF. Both of those teams will be battling for a Superbowl birth. And the Cards should have been in the playoffs at 10-6. Yes, the defense was top ten. But the Cards offense had the potential all year to put up big numbers with limited talent. And if u add one or two more Offensive contributors, there is no reason, Carson cant continue to lead this team. Cut the guy a break. We are so hard on players, in particular, when we try to measure them against the Bradys and Mannings of the world. Those guys are legends. No one said Carson is HOF bound. But he is a veteran leader and with a little time, has an accurate cannon arm that can shred any defense.