Palmer announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday, the Cardinals' official site reports.
One day removed from head coach Bruce Arians making the same announcement, Palmer will head into the sunset after 15 seasons with three different teams. After waiting one year to get his first shot with the Bengals in 2004, the previous year's No. 1 overall pick spent seven years with the organization as the starting quarterback. A dispute with ownership in 2011 eventually resulted in a trade to the Raiders, where he suited up the next two campaigns. To wrap up his career, Palmer landed in the Arizona desert in April of 2013 and spurred one of the most successful runs in the history of the Cardinals in that state, accumulating a 38-21-1 record as a starter. His injuries woes emerged at inopportune times, though, as he was only available for one of the team's two playoff runs. In 182 regular-season games played, Palmer averaged 254.1 yards per contest, completed 62.5 percent of his passes and accrued 294 touchdowns versus 187 interceptions for an 87.9 quarterback rating.
Though Blaine Gabbert has performed adequately while starting the last three games and will likely finish out the season as the team's signal caller with the Cardinals not expected to activate Palmer from injured reserve, it doesn't sound like a quarterback controversy is in the works. Gabbert is slated for free agency this season and could be retained by the team, but Palmer's longer track record of success looks like it will work in his favor should he elect to keep his career going. With Palmer no longer requiring a cast for his broken left arm, the expectation is that he'll be back to full strength well in advance of the Cardinals' Organized Team Activities in the spring.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday that he doesn't think Palmer (arm) has progressed enough in his recovery to return from injured reserve this season, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports.
Palmer only recently ditched the cast on his left arm, giving him six weeks to complete the final stages of his rehab. Because he suffered the fracture Week 7, he can't be activated until Week 16 at the earliest due to his residence on IR. As long as Palmer remains out and Drew Stanton tends to a knee sprain, Blaine Gabbert will direct the Cardinals offense.
Palmer was knocked from a Week 7 loss to the Rams in London and diagnosed with a broken left arm, which precipitated surgery and his placement on injured reserve within days. With his cast gone, he can begin rehabilitating the region, but there's no telling whether he has enough time to make another impact by season's end. Due to the timing of the injury, he could be activated as early as Week 16 against the Giants, but the Cards are currently on the outside looking in in the playoff picture. For the time being, Blaine Gabbert will start at quarterback while Drew Stanton recovers from a sprained knee.
Palmer (arm), who is under contract with the Cardinals through the 2018 season, indicated last week that he hasn't decided if he'll keep playing beyond the current campaign, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports. "I haven't even gotten there yet," Palmer said, regarding his future in the NFL. "I'll have a chance to think about what is next as far as 2018 and all that once we get through this year."
Palmer's salary carries a $12.5 million cap hit next season and includes a $1.5 million roster bonus that will be guaranteed five days after the Super Bowl, so it's expected that the soon-to-be 38-year-old will inform the Cardinals of his intentions by that point. For now, Palmer said that he's focusing on rehabbing his broken left arm and returning from injured reserve this season, with the earliest date he could be activated coming in advance of the Cardinals' Week 16 game Dec. 24 against the Giants. It's still too early in the rehab process to determine if a 2017 return is feasible for Palmer, given that he has yet to have his cast removed following surgery.
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