Monday draft notes: Carson Palmer destined for Arizona?

Arizona bound?

Carson Palmer to exit Oakland, enter Arizona?

Part of the draft process is to keep an eye on the other teams in the NFC West. One development today could have an impact for arguably the weakest team in the division.

Arizona ended last year a shambles. The 58-0 defeat against Seattle was the tipping point for a season that started so brightly (4-0) and ended with a whimper. At the core of everything was a mess at quarterback. John Skelton, Kevin Kolb and Ryan Lindley all took turns to be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. The end product was a complete clear-out of the coaching staff and front office.

Bruce Arians was appointed mainly off the back of his work with Andrew Luck during his rookie season. It seemed a formality that Arians would be tasked with working the same kind of magic with another rookie in Arizona.

Does today’s news regarding Carson Palmer change anything? Quite possibly.

The Cardinals basically have two striking needs. Their offensive line is poor overall and the quarterback position is a mess. Ideally they’d fill both areas this off-season, least temporarily. They’ve (typically) stayed clear of spending any money in free agency despite a decent crop of offensive tackles becoming available (plus a favourable market). And despite noises to the contrary, it’s highly unlikely Arians truly believes he’s good-to-go with Drew Stanton at quarterback. Not unless he’s been told a 4-12 season is OK in year one.

The Raiders are in the process of a humongous rebuild. It’s a hack job for the ages — they need to bring in the demolition crew and get to work over several years. Oakland are basically in expansion franchise mode right now, mostly because the previous regime gambled and lost on Carson Palmer being the missing link to a post-season appearance.

Paying Palmer $13m this year makes absolutely no sense. He has little to no chance of winning in Oakland, yet earns a significant salary for his efforts. They’re better off making a saving, accepting the situation and building around a young core. That could mean drafting a quarterback at #3 or in the third round. It could mean turning the keys over to Terrelle Pryor to see if he has any kind of shot to make it in the league. None of these options are ideal, but clinging onto an expensive ageing veteran at $13m makes little sense.

Palmer might earn $13m this year, but he’ll take up $15m on the cap in total. The Raiders can save $6m by moving on. That money is better off sitting in the front office, waiting to be pushed forward into next year. They need a youth movement with heavy competition, much like Seattle. In fact the Seahawks should created the blueprint for any team facing the same bleak future Seattle faced in 2010.

Oakland has to tear everything down and start again. I think GM Reggie McKenzie probably would’ve loved to do that last year, but he didn’t have a single pick in the first two days of the 2012 draft. And without the opportunity to get busy, what choice did he have put to meander onwards? Now he has a shot to make this his team. To put down some roots. He’s another Green Bay exile and will share some of John Schneider’s visions. I can’t see him clinging to Palmer in the hope he creates a miracle. A revolution is required.

If or when Palmer hits the market, Arizona seems like the ideal home. He could be another Kurt Warner. It’d buy some time for Arians in the toughest division in football (and it really is, let’s be right). It’d also allow him to concentrate on repairing that weak offensive line at #7 with either Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson or Chance Warmack. Throw in a tight end in round two (Zach Ertz?) or even a running back (Eddie Lacy?) and suddenly they have an offense that looks like it might be able to compete.

They could still draft a quarterback later on as a longer term possibility, but Palmer would provide some veteran leadership in a one or two year rental situation. While it might only produce a six or seven win season for the Cardinals, at least the Arians/Steve Keim era would have some forward momentum. And the Seahawks have shown that starting a new regime with two 7-9 seasons isn’t necessarily a road to constant mediocrity.

One realistic possibility could be the idea of going Fisher/Johnson and then Mike Glennon in round two. Certainly Glennon has the kind of arm strength Arians is used to working with. There’s something to be said for not ‘needing’ to panic at quarterback, however. I think Seattle showed that. You’d have to feel very comfortable about Glennon to go in that direction. And Arians hasn’t really hand-picked Ben Roethlisberger or Andrew Luck, so we don’t know that arm strength is the defining factor here. I doubt the rest of the division would be too concerned about that prospect of facing Glennon, even with Fitzgerald as a target. However, the Cardinals will conduct a private work-out with the NC State quarterback tomorrow.

If the Cardinals do add Palmer, Johnson and Ertz to their offense, it could provide a fourth wheel to the blossoming monster truck named the NFC West. They’d still be favourites to finish 4th in the division, but they’d certainly offer a few blooded noses along the way and re-establish some momentum. Rest assured nobody will be particularly concerned about the Cardinals if they’re starting Drew Stanton at quarterback. And I say that as a fan. But I’m really only a fan because his second name is very similar to mine.

Big day for Barkley

Wednesday is a crucial day for Matt Barkley. After an off-season of constant hand-wringing about his arm strength (can anyone remember the comparison to Kellen Moore a few weeks ago? Who said that again?), he finally gets a chance to gain some momentum.

There’s no doubting he’ll perform well. After all, when’s the last time you heard a negative report from a college pro-day? And despite a lot of negativity around his physical performance in college, I suspect there will be a handful of teams ready to put their stock in his talents.

Don’t count out the Jaguars here. I think there’s an extremely strong chance they’ll move down from #2 with teams like Buffalo looking to get hold of Geno Smith. They could possibly move down again from the #8 range to accumulate further picks. Don’t forget how Carroll and Schneider built their defense in Seattle — the core didn’t come in the first round. The Jaguars could search for role players (LEO, interior size, talented safety) in rounds 2-3.

Gus Bradley will surely be aware of Barkley’s talents having spent a lot of time with Carroll. I have no doubt whatsoever that had Russellmania never happened in Seattle, they’d be targeting Barkley to lead Seattle’s offense. We’ll see what happens. Yet as far as matches go, I think Barkley in Jacksonville isn’t an unrealistic proposition. The hoopla about their presence at the West Virginia pro-day looked a bit of a smoke screen to me (RE: Geno Smith). We’ll see what presence they have at USC on Wednesday.

Simon shines

Ohio State’s John Simon is a favourite on this blog and it was good to see he enjoyed a productive work-out today in front of scouts. He’s been struggling with a slight injury since the Senior Bowl.

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s a refresher:


  1. The Ancient Mariner

    “when’s the last time you heard a negative report from a college pro-day?”

    Jarvis Jones? Damontre Moore?

    If Palmer goes from Oakland to the Cards, I would think that would be good news for the ‘Hawks; Arizona’s not going to deal for Flynn, but he’d make a lot of sense for the Raiders.

    • Rob Staton

      I meant regarding quarterbacks on the pro-day comment. Virtually every QB pro-day is a roaring success.

      I can’t see Oakland swapping Palmer for Flynn. He’d take up all the money saved by cutting Palmer. So there’s zero saving there. They might as well just keep Palmer in that scenario. Plus this is a team that has traded away too many picks in recent years. I doubt they have any motivation to trade another for Flynn.

      • CHawk Talker Eric

        You’re probably correct. Although with the Reggie McKenzie-GB-Flynn connection, it’s not entirely out of the question.

      • The Ancient Mariner

        Eh, good points. Still, the way the market’s gone, they could probably get Flynn for a future seventh, so it wouldn’t really hurt their draft capital much.

        • Rob Staton

          For that type of deal I could see it. Kind of like a conditional 5th/6th. But even then, I’m not sure what they stand to gain from bringing in a veteran like that who will need a timing based offense. They have nothing to build around and putting Flynn in there would be pretty unfair to the guy. I sense if they’re going to be awful, they might as well go with Pryor or a young, cheap guy drafted later on. Either way, Jadeveon Clowney might as well start house hunting in Oakland.

      • YankinTa

        really? Flynn would take up all the money saved by cutting Palmer? 5.5 million and 13 million, I don’t think that’s the same. I’m confused.

  2. Stuart

    Your absolutely right about Jacksonville moving down and down again to accumulate draft picks. Besides being able to draft a great player in round one they should be able haul mutili 2nd’s, 3rds and much more. Kind of envious of them….

    Just imagine what JS could do with that, WOW. Speaking of JS, is there a hotter GM in the NFL right now? PA probably needs to lock that guy up for as long as possible, dont you think? How about extending both PC and JS after the draft? Only 31 days to go!

    I appreciate your daily work on this site Rob, you do an excellent job, thanks again.

  3. Dan

    What’s your thoughts on the Michael Bennet injury. 12thmanrising recently did an article on the injury and Keith Myers certainly eased my fears. Looks like the FO may have known about the injury beforehand too. All of Bennet’s incentives are based on a per game active basis.

    • Chris F


      I just got finished listening to this before I came here. Clayton and Sando touch on the injury briefly towards the end of the podcast:

    • Belgaron

      It’s still a risk but it was a known risk and they mitigated potential damage by building a per game incentive into his one year contract. Yet another example of PC/JS willingness to live on the edge a little.

  4. Colin

    Arian’s comments’ have been odd to say the least, and arrogant to make the most. From saying they were confident they could win regular season games and playoff games with Drew Stanton (yes, he said that) to calling LT Levi Brown an “elite” talent (yes, he said that too). Makes you wonder how much is just coachspeak, and how full of himself he might be.

    The Pro day for a QB is probably the most meaningless thing ever in terms of determing if the guy can play at the next level. I still firmly believe Sam Bradford’s pro day was the only reason he was a #1 overall pick. He had great numbers at OU but could never stay healthy, went to the pro day and killed it, and was made out to be this unbelievable talent. Still not sure the Rams have their man under center for the future.

    The Michael Bennett injury is concerning, but I think he should be just fine by the time the regular season comes. He would’ve had surgery by now if it had been required, so I don’t think it can be too serious.

    • Rob Staton

      I think he’s just hedging his bets in a slightly dishonest way. He’s basically running through every key need and claiming everything is cool. Levi Brown is elite. Drew Stanton is the quarterback. It’s OK to pump up your own guys I guess. But I don’t think anyone really believes he feels that confident about Brown or Stanton. Or maybe he does? And in that case, good for us.

      • Belgaron

        Unfortunately, saying we suck and we’re firmly embedded in a Catastrophe for Clowney campaign just won’t look good on Arian’s resume.

  5. Ben

    What do you think of Simon in the second round? It seems like there is no one in the college game that can block him, that may translate into the NFL as a DE/DT/OLB combo, odd as that may sound.

    • Rob Staton

      I wouldn’t be against it. I really like him. Although I suspect the moves made in free agency makes it unlikely.

      • Belgaron

        He really is a fantastic college player and I love his swim move, I’d be willing to take him but not in the 2nd/3rd.

        • YankinTa

          2nd is too high, especially when we picked up 2x DE. I’d take him in the 4th, if he’s there….

  6. Ray graham

    John Simon is a beast!!! Non stop motor, speed, killer instinct and finishing skills. The whole package for sure, but where does he play in the nfl? Can he kick inside at his size? Or do you see him strictly as an edge guy? I watched a ton of buckeye video and he is always making plays, very consistent. I think he’s the type of unique player the Hawk F/O covets. A bonus to watching all that film is I got to check out one of my fav late rnd prospects Zach boren. He’s a punishing blocker as a fullback then was asked to play ilb for the last 1/2 of the season and looked great there too! I think this guy would be a fabulous sp teamer.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      Hrm. Guy who is too big to play LB. Too small to play DT. Excellent pass rusher who is extremely strong at the point of attack.

      I wonder what kind of defense has that kind of hybrid position?

  7. kevin mullen

    If we trade our 2nd pick (valued 340pts) plus 2014 1st rounder (I’ll value it as a 2nd Rd, pick1 @580pts) could net us the 1st Rd #19 of this year’s draft. Problem is that it’s the Giant’s pick, which would put us one pick behind Dallas for a shot at Sheldon Richardson.

    If there’s any way that Seattle walks away with Sheldon Richardson, I would (hands down) call this the absolute BEST (in respect to prospective potential) offseason, EVER.

    On paper, the ‘Hawks can and will kill, but it’s the blowouts I want. Those 3 weeks towards late in the season, gave a lot of ‘Hawk fans that taste of pure dominance.

    I want it for all 16 plus 3 with that podium stuff. I wanna see Bradshaw interviewing Wilson, Lynch, Rice, Harvin, Tate, Miller, Robinson, Okung, Carpenter, Unger, Moffitt, Giacommini, Thomas, Chancellor, Sherman, Browner, Thurmond, Wagner, Wright, ME-BANE, Clem, Irvin, Avril, Bennett, and *Richardson on the world’s largest stage. Richardson would “complete our circle” as Tom Cruise would say, it would be a monster offseason.

    • Kenny Sloth

      I’d rather trade up next year for Will Sutton.

      • Michael

        I’ll second that. I really wish Sutton had come out this year since we might have had a shot at him in R2. I doubt he lasts that long next year. Either way, as much as I love Richardson, I am not crazy about the idea of trading away more future draft capital since we are already out a 2014 mid-rounder for Percy.

    • Belgaron

      Last year Seahawks took Irvin, Wagner, and Wilson in the first three rounds for draft values of 1050, 430, and 215 respectively. Don Banks did a draft do-over after the season and chose Wilson #3 for a draft value of 2200, Wagner #9 for 1350, and Irvin #15 for 1050 (

      So they turned 1695 into 4600.

      I think I’d rather see them turn less picks into more instead of two high picks into one “higher” pick.

      Richardson may have a great career but there will be guys taken after 56 and 87 that have even better careers. If I had to put money on a team that could find and draft those guys, I’m going with the easy money.

  8. JW

    If I’m a ‘zona fan, I don’t want Palmer. He’s window dressing. Take the medicine and look to a brighter future. Accumulate draft picks so that you can take as many good players as possible through their prime years simultaneously. Anyone on that roster over 28 years old is a future draft pick. It’s bitter medicine but it’s the only way to really do it. Palmer isn’t what he used to be- he’s certainly not Warner and this team isn’t as good as Warner’s team was.

    • Rob Staton

      Which quarterback in the draft would you prefer out of the group, JW? Would be interested to get a Cards view on that situation.

      • Ed

        JW, you wouldn’t give up any picks to get Palmer. He isn’t old and if I was AZ fan, I would love to see Palmer throwing to Fitz and Floyd. Get an OT with 1st rd pick and the NFC West easily becomes best division top to bottom (on paper of course). You still have Hoyer to develop and maybe draft a 4th rd project.

        On a Hawk note. Bennett should be fine, especially if they looked at him to mostly play passing downs as DT.

        For the draft, BPA with a lean towards:

        2nd DT/WR/OT
        3rd WR/LB/DT
        4th CB/LB/OT

        • Michael

          Still have Hoyer to develop? As a ‘Hawks fan I sincerely hope that is part of their long term plan.

          • JW

            Rob, I know Barkley’s stock has dropped but he’s the guy I’d take a shot at, and I’d do it with the first pick and not try to get cute about it.

            re: Palmer, yes I know he can be had w/o a draft pick. But he’s old, slow of foot, and has diminished skill. That O line will kill him, even with a highly drafted LT this year. Signing Palmer is a band aid. This team needs a demolition crew, with a roster churn like Seattle did. But the issue is, few teams have the courage to do it, so we’re likely in NFL mediocrity for the near future.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        I’d be interested in hearing it too.

        Although let’s be honest. Not every year does a team have an opportunity to upgrade at QB. Taking a failed QBOTF prospect early in rd 1 is much more ruinous than just getting a bridge QB for a season and trying next year.

        Trying and failing is worse than not trying. Arizona has a dire need at QB. But if they Gabbert their franchise, they could be looking at treading the bottom ten waters for half a decade.

        If you’re a Cards fan, you choose the lesser of two evils. If there isn’t a franchise QB to be had, then don’t compound the mistake by throwing away draft capital in 2013, wasting potential wins in 2013-2015, and taking yourself out of the QB market in 2014-15.

        Jacksonville took Gabbert. So they were out of the market and took a punter instead of Russell Wilson. Them not taking Wilson is a direct consequence of their attempt and failure with Blaine. They missed on guys they could have had (Tannehill/Wilson). For no other reason than they failed in 2011 and those kinds of failures bleed into successive years.

        • JW

          ” But if they Gabbert their franchise, they could be looking at treading the bottom ten waters for half a decade.”

          That’s a massive overstatement of the risk. Especially in the cap friendly environment of the new collective bargaining agreement.

          “Jacksonville took Gabbert. So they were out of the market and took a punter instead of Russell Wilson. Them not taking Wilson is a direct consequence of their attempt and failure with Blaine. They missed on guys they could have had (Tannehill/Wilson). For no other reason than they failed in 2011 and those kinds of failures bleed into successive years.”

          I’m not following that logic, but what you’re talking about is poor drafting decisions and not evaluating talent wisely.

          Speaking of talent, Palmer has little left.

          • Attyla the Hawk

            The new cap only serves to allow teams to get out from under bad picks financially. For non QBs, it’s extremely helpful.

            The reason it doesn’t apply to QBs is simple. QBs, particularly QBs taken in the mid/late first round, often times are expected to take time to develop. At least 2, if not 3 years. Those are years a team isn’t taking QBs. Those are seasons devoted and committed to that QBOTF prospect where the franchise is essentially ‘on hold’ as far as adding QB options is concerned.

            Couple cases in point. In 2011, there were several QBs taken in the mid/late first round. Guys that were perceived as reaches. Locker, Ponder, Dalton and Kaepernick. In 2010, Tebow, Clausen and McCoy. Minnesota and Tennessee have tread water barely for going on a third season. I’d find it unlikely either team takes a QB this year, even though both will probably have the opportunity to get one in R1. Their investment in 2011 has put their franchises on hold. They today do not have a franchise QB. And they still aren’t looking.

            Even in 2009, Tampa Bay took Josh Freeman. A prospect who looked to be a young franchise QB, and now has regressed — much like Mark Sanchez has. These were both second tier QBs, and taking/developing them has taken both teams out of the QB market while they developed.

            Tebow and Clausen are unique circumstance prospects. Tebow was pushed aside in favor of Manning. You don’t get franchise QBs on the open market in general. Carolina had the fortune to ‘earn’ the #1 overall. But remember, there was considerable question whether they would take Newton at all. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Ultimately, it was a gutsy and smart move to get a better QB prospect even after having spent their first selection on a QB the previous year. Clausen was kind enough to demonstrate he was a terrible NFL starter right away.

            It’s not always about bad decisions. Franchise QBs are hard to acquire. We had a 5 win and a 4 win season and neither was ‘good’ enough to earn the ability to fix that position.

            The point is that taking a guy that has to develop means you are excusing yourself from future QB prospects in the near term. In essence, it’s not about the money that makes it risky. It’s the fact that your search for a franchise QB is suspended while you try to see if what you drafted will fit the bill. That’s just due to the long term nature of developing QBs.

            The new cap really just allows teams to get out from under failed players like Charles Rogers, Troy Williamson or Aaron Curry. Guys that you can tell quickly are just bad and there is little expectation they’ll improve. Players whose development cycle is short. Positions where there is significant redundancy.

  9. CHawk Talker Eric

    Two teams have been looking VERY closely at Matt Scott – JAX and PHI. There’s essentially zero chance either of them spends their R1 pick on him (let alone any other team), but I wouldn’t be the least surprised if JAX makes him their R2 pick.

    • Belgaron

      Maybe, but teams often draft guys they never showed any interest in, by design. While teams like Seattle will show a lot of interest in guys they hope to sign as undrafted free agents. I know teams over-draft QBs but that seems awfully high. Rang has him as a 4th-5th rounder, seems like if some team wanted to outmaneuver the hive mind, they’d draft him in the third.

      On the other hand, there are always guys like Bruce Irvin whose stock jumps way up so who knows?

  10. Burner

    Rob, it’s possible quite a few QBs could still be about in round 3 when we pick. If Glennon, T Wilson, Scott or Manuel were still on the board who would you take?

    Could be long term value drafting Russell’s back up here.

  11. Brian

    The Cardinals are also have the worst rushing attack in the NFL. If you draft an Andrew Luck-level prospect that probably doesn’t matter, but a second or third tier QB is going to need some help to develop and the Cardinals can’t give it to them. I like Matt Barkley, but he is a west coast, play action type QB rather than a throw deep on every down kind of guy. Geno Smith will be Akili Smith if they throw him to the wolves on day 1 with no line and no running game.

    As a result I think Palmer makes much more sense for them than the rookies.

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