Who Will QB the Cardinals if Carson Palmer Retires?
Very interesting: @mikejurecki just told me Carson Palmer has listed his home for sale, pulled kids out of school and moved out of state.
— Jody Oehler (@radiojody) January 31, 2017
That tweet sent late afternoon yesterday caused the rumor mill to spin in regards to Carson Palmer’s future as an Arizona Cardinal.
What does it mean? … Is Palmer retiring? Did he get a good deal on his house? Are the Palmers not big fans of the Arizona weather in February? If Palmer is making a power move wanting out of Arizona or if he’s decided to retire what does that mean for the Cardinals at quarterback? I have few suggestions…
1. Byron Leftwich – Player-Coach
The recently turned 37-year-old Leftwich was just added to the Cardinals’ coaching staff as their new quarterbacks coach. The former first round pick played ten seasons in the NFL, but hasn’t suited up on Game Day since 2012. Having been out of the game that long must have given Leftwich a chance to heal up.
Fantasy wise, Leftwich’s best season came in 2004, when he scored 189.74 points and was the QB15, sandwiched between David Carr and Joey Harrington. He was a top-12 fantasy QB four weeks in a row that season, from Week 4 to Week 7, averaging 22.6 fantasy points and scoring a career game high 30.42 points in Week 6.
During his career, Leftwich scored 15 or more fantasy points 18 times. Something current backup and perhaps future starting Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton has achieved five times in his career (three has come as a Cardinal — all in 2014).
Leftwich is younger than Palmer and they each have the same amount of 30+ fantasy point performances. I’d watch a reality show of just Cardinals quarterback meetings if Leftwich were to start at quarterback and coach himself.
2. Drew Stanton’s Time to Shine
I once wrote multiple thousands of words in an article for XN Sports that touted Drew Stanton as QB2 target when he signed with the Arizona Cardinals. The only problem, other than devoting so much digital ink to Stanton, was the Cardinals acquiring Palmer and putting the kibosh on the #FreeDrewStanton movement.
Here we are, coming up on the fifth-year anniversary of the Cardinals signing Stanton and trading for Palmer and we might finally have a changing of the guard.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 1, 2013
If Palmer retires and the Cardinals name Stanton the starting quarterback then he will have finally won the #Competition. It’s been a long time coming. Stanton hasn’t been fantasy relevant for much of his career, with only the five 15+ fantasy point performances and three career top-12 finishes. For reference, Palmer had five top-12 finishes and scored 15 or more points seven times in 2016 alone.
One thing Stanton does have in his favor if the Cardinals find themselves without the services of Palmer is that Zac Dysert is currently the only other active quarterback on the roster — until the team activates Leftwich, that is.
3. Even More David Johnson
David Johnson touched the football an absurdly high 373 times last season.
In addition to running the ball 293 times for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns, he also caught 80-of-120 targets for 879 yards and four touchdowns. He was the highest scoring fantasy running back and his 191.9 PPR points in the receiving game alone would have been good enough for WR31. In PPR leagues, Johnson’s 407.80 points was the most of any player, quarterbacks included.
If Johnson is already the centerpiece of the team’s offense, why can’t he also lineup under center and sling the football as well? Johnson stated he has a goal to rush for 1,000 yards and receive 1,000 yards every season. He should also add pass for 1,000 yards (at least) to the list.
Not sure about you, but if David Johnson had RB, WR, and QB eligibility in fantasy leagues he’d be the consensus number one overall pick in 2QB leagues. Palmer’s retirement would be worth it just to see that happen.
4. Nothing to See Here
5. QB of the Future
There’s a likelihood Oehler’s tweet was for naught and Palmer will be back under center for the Cardinals next season, where he will be part of a clustered group of high-to-mid range fantasy QB2 options. However, there’s also a chance the Palmer-Cardinals era has reached an end, in which case the team will either bring in a veteran QB (hello, Tony Romo) or put an emphasis on the future and draft one.
*Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData