In 2014 Carson Palmer exceeded all expectations in 2013, throwing for 4,274 yards and completing more than 63 percent of his passes, piling up impressive games down the stretch as the Cardinals won 10 games. He's the team's starter and he's Bruce Arians guy.
But he understands if Arizona ends up drafting a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft, for a variety of reasons.
“If you are in a position to draft the best player on your board, and that's the best position to be in as an organization, and (a quarterback) is the best player on the board, you are not only making your team better by creating competition but you are helping out the future,” Palmer said Tuesday via AZCardinals.com. “I know I'm not going to play forever. It's hard for us players to admit that. The older you get the harder it is to admit it. You don't see it happening. You still feel good, you still feel confident, you still feel healthy.
"But that's the reality. That's the business. It doesn't matter how you feel about it, whether it irks you or you don't care. That's the game."
Palmer's been in a situation where his team took a quarterback before. While Palmer was with the Bengals, they drafted Andy Dalton (along with A.J. Green) early in the 2011 NFL Draft. Slightly different situation as Palmer was refusing to play for Cincy and they called his bluff by drafting Dalton.
But the larger point is he understands, as someone who's played for three different franchises, that teams have to plan over the long haul as well. That includes bringing in younger players to replace the old guys.
A good example is the 49ers. Drafting Colin Kaepernick as a quarterback to replace Alex Smith turned out to be a gem of a move by Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke. This draft's deep enough where the Cards might wait until the second (or third) round before grabbing a potential long-term replacement for Palmer, if they even chose to draft one.
Palmer turned 34 during the 2013 season. He's no spring chicken, even though his performance in Arians system indicated otherwise last year. And a lot depends on Steve Keim's board. If Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles is a top-five or top-10 guy on said board and they fall to Arizona, you've got to think about pulling the trigger.
Though Palmer wouldn't likely be happy if the Cards used an early pick on a quarterback, it's refreshing that he's willing to admit he understands how the system works.