The Arizona Cardinals do not currently have a quarterback on their roster, so it is safe to say they are going to be active in free agency and the draft when it comes to . However, they may not be active with the biggest quarterback domino: Kirk Cousins.
Cousins is expected to command a stupid contract and the cap-rich Jets are -- -- in order to land Cousins on the open market.
The Cardinals, as noted by Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM in Arizona, are not likely to get involved in that sort of "sweepstakes."
When you look at the salary-cap space available to various teams around the NFL, it becomes kind of clear Arizona just doesn't have the bullets to really get involved. The Cards have over $24 million in cap space available, but there is going to be a hefty amount due to Cousins in the first year of his contract unless he's willing to take a lot less money than expected or unless someone gives him some massively backloaded contract. Don't expect to see that: Cousins is going to reel in a huge digit in the first year of his contract and a large amount of cash over the first three years of his deal from someone.
Jurecki's prediction for the Cardinals -- bringing in a few veterans who aren't that expensive along with a signal caller in the draft -- makes more sense given the other issues on the roster.
Not that the Jets are fine everywhere else, but they have enough salary-cap space ($86 million right now, before cutting Muhammad Wilkerson) where they can manage to spend big on Cousins and still add other pieces. They also have a little bit easier time in the game of free-agency chicken because they're sitting at No. 6 in the draft. If they whiff on Cousins, they can go get a quarterback with their pick and there is a good chance one will be there.
For Arizona, the draft is a little trickier. They're sitting at No. 15 after closing out 2017 pretty strong; they lost Carson Palmer and David Johnson early and the team still competed down the stretch for Bruce Arians. There is no guarantee, and it's almost unlikely, that one of the big four quarterbacks is sitting there halfway through the draft.
Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield are not projected to make it that far, at least right now. Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph should be available; maybe they fit with the Cardinals' plan.
Jackson likely needs a year of sitting and watching, but his athleticism and ability to throw the ball down the field with a flick of his wrist is reminiscent of Michael Vick. Rudolph spins a nice deep ball as well, but is going to get dinged for playing in a Big 12 offensive scheme that's wide open. (This is just how these things work, right or wrong.)
Either of those guys could pair nicely with an AJ McCarron type in free agency, a bridge quarterback for the 2018 season, designed to start and, preferably, play the entire year, because it would mean the Cardinals aren't losing a bunch of games. Mike Glennon could be an option as well, assuming he is cut by the Bears.
It feels safe to say the Cards won't be the mystery team that rolls in and splashes a ton of money on Drew Brees' doorstep, if they are out on Cousins.
The point being there are lots of options., but just because you miss out on giving him $150 million doesn't mean your battleship is sunk. The Cardinals are in a tricky spot, but they have a number of different paths they can go down this offseason.