Acquired on the cheap from the Oakland Raiders in 2013, Carson Palmer has been a godsend for the Arizona Cardinals organization.
Now that the 37-year-old quarterback has reached the twilight portion of his career, though, it’s incumbent upon the team’s decision-makers to find a successor.
“There’s no doubt every GM, there is no question your name has to be put on a young quarterback at some point,” general manager Steve Keim explained last week, via the team’s official website. “I challenge myself every day, because if you look around the league, you’re not a GM for long if you don’t find (a quarterback).
“I have to do a better job, with my staff and the coaching staff, we have to identify the right guy and put this organization in position to have success for years to come.”
This is a new verse on an old song in Arizona.
One of the new traditions of the NFL Scouting Combine each offseason is coach Bruce Arians’ acknowledgement that the front office must begin preparations for life after Palmer.
“We’ve talked about it a bunch,” Arians said last February. “And whether or not we act on it, we’ll see.”
The Cardinals have acted on it by drafting Logan Thomas in 2014, trading for Matt Barkley in 2015 and signing Zac Dysert last year. Thomas and Barkley are long gone; Dysert is no one’s idea of a future face of the franchise.
Keim was in Arizona’s personnel department during the dark years following Kurt Warner’s retirement, watching Larry Fitzgerald trying in vain to corral scattershot passes from the likes of John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Max Hall, Ryan Lindley and Richard Bartel.
He knows first-hand that regimes change when there’s no succession plan in place for professional sports’ most valuable position.