Stanton will likely slide in as the Browns' backup quarterback since head coach Hue Jackson has already named the recently-acquired Tyrod Taylor his starter for the 2018 season. The Browns also own two of the top four picks in the upcoming NFL draft, with which they could also be targeting their quarterback of the future. In five games for the Cardinals last season, Stanton threw for 894 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions on a 49.7-percent completion clip. However, it isn't clear where the 33-year-old stands in his recovery from a bone bruise in his knee.
Stanton (knee) won't require offseason surgery to address a torn ACL in his knee, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The quarterback clarified Monday that he's dealing with a bone bruise rather than an ACL injury, according to Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site.
Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald had previously posted Sunday on his personal Twitter account after Arizona's 26-24 victory over the Seahawks that Stanton had started the final two games of the season with a torn ACL. While Stanton offered more definitive word on the nature of his injury, Rapoport's report adds that the signal caller had been playing through a chronic ACL issue for years, with the final ligament having snapped after he got over the bone bruise. Because of the lack of stability to the knee caused by playing without an ACL, medical professionals usually advise against forgoing surgery, but it sounds as though Stanton is willing to accept the risk due to his status as a pocket passer rather than a quarterback that relies on mobility and change of direction. Stanton will become a free agent this summer and will look to land a backup role somewhere.
According to a tweet from teammate Larry Fitzgerald, Stanton played the final two weeks of the season with a torn ACL.
This is the first mentioning of an ACL tear for Stanton, but assuming it's true, the tear likely must have been minor in nature. That said, it's possible offseason surgery will be required to correct the issue. Stanton appeared in five games for the Cardinals this year and will be heading into free agency this offseason.
Stanton competed 20 of 34 passes for 209 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions during Sunday's 23-0 win over the Giants.
Lining up under center for the first time since Week 10, Stanton didn't exactly make Cardinals fans forget about the uneven quarterback play of Blaine Gabbert the last five outings. That said, two of the team's six full first-half possessions resulted in a 21-yard field goal from Phil Dawson and 13-yard TD connection with Larry Fitzgerald, all but putting the game out of reach. Stanton proceeded to open the second half with an 11-play, 75-yard march that culminated with a touchdown throw to John Brown. With the Seahawks on tap in the regular-season finale, Stanton has a fair chance to replicate his Week 10 performance (273 passing yards) against a defense without the services of Richard Sherman (Achilles) and Kam Chancellor (neck).
Stanton will replace Blaine Gabbert as the starter for Week 16 against the Giants.
Gabbert had a few moments in his first two weeks as the starter, but his five-game stint ultimately included six interceptions, two lost fumbles and 23 sacks. While Stanton can't possibly be much worse, he'll have to deal with the same injury-depleted supporting cast that made it easy for opponents to tee off on Gabbert. Sunday's matchup is the only real cause for optimism, as the Giants have surrendered a league-worst 30 passing touchdowns while allowing opponents to complete 62.6 percent of their throws for 7.8 yards per attempt.
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