Carson Palmer decides against retirement, will return to Cardinals

The Carson Palmer retirement watch is officially over in Arizona. The Cardinals quarterback announced on Thursday that he'll be returning for the 2017 season, which is good news for the Cards because that means that won't have to find a quarterback this offseason.

Palmer said he wanted to take some time to mull things over, and that's exactly what he did.

"My intent was to take some time after the season to get away and see where I was physically and mentally," Palmer said, via the Cardinals official website. "On both fronts, I can say I'm ready to get back to work and prepare for the 2017 season. This is a phenomenal group with a very special opportunity in front of it. I know how rare that is and I couldn't be more excited to be a part of it."

The timing of Palmer's decision isn't really a surprise. The 37-year-old had to decide on his future by Friday because that's when his $15.5 million salary for 2017 was set to become fully guaranteed. Knowing that he was going to get more than $15 million to return to Arizona probably helped him make the decision.

The retirement watch started in January after Palmer sent an ominous text to AZCentral.com reporter Dan Bickley. Basically, Palmer said he was only going to return if he thought his body could handle it.

"I guess nothing is ever official until it is, but I'd like to play if my body responds the way I hope," Palmer said.

One day after the text was sent, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked about Palmer's future, and he admitted that he had no idea what was going to happen.

"I've spoken to Carson and Larry [Fitzgerald] every week since the season," Arians said, via the Arizona Republic. "Neither one has come to a decision. It's up to them. I feel comfortable with where they're at and what's going to happen. Like everybody else, got my fingers crossed."

In the end, Arians got a double dose of good news because both Palmer and Fitzgerald will be returning.

Palmer struggled at times last season, but that was mostly because he had no protection. The Cardinals quarterback was sacked 40 times during Arizona's 7-8-1 season, which was 15 more times than he was sacked in 2015, when the Cardinals went 13-3 and advanced to the NFC title game.

The 37-year-old is under contract with the Cardinals through the 2018 season.

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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