Arizona’s offensive line was atrocious in 2012, but the Cardinals’ biggest need was quarterback.
The Cardinals’ quarterbacks threw 21 interceptions and 11 touchdowns, and the group combined to post a paltry 63.1 passer rating. The quarterback situation was a dire need, and Arizona addressed it by trading with the Raiders for Palmer. Palmer, who ranked second in passer rating in 2005 (he posted a spectacular 101.1 passer rating that year), has the potential to be great in Arizona.
Chad Johnson was in his prime when Palmer put up his best numbers. Johnson ranked third in receiving yards in 2005, and that was largely due to Palmer. Palmer wasn’t as productive with the Raiders because Oakland didn’t have a great receiving corps, but he still managed to post the league’s 16th-best passer rating.
Palmer likes to take risks, and Larry Fitzgerald can bail him out for taking those risks. Fitzgerald isn’t fast, but he knows how to go up and get a ball. Even though Palmer had terrible receivers who couldn’t bail him out for taking risks, he threw 14 interceptions, which isn’t a ton. With Fitzgerald as a big-play threat, Ryan Swope and Andre Roberts as threats to use their speed to get open and Jonathan Cooper and Levi Brown anchoring a talented offensive line, Palmer’s stats should be much better in 2013.
In 2011, Palmer averaged a remarkable 8.39 yards per passing attempt, and in 2012 Palmer exceeded 4,000 passing yards and threw 1.6 touchdowns per game. Palmer has displayed flashes of greatness, and while he has thrown an abundance of interceptions, he has thrown a solid amount of touchdowns as well. A lot of people say that Palmer isn’t a long-term solution at quarterback, but he definitely could bring the Cardinals back to the playoffs.
Palmer took the Bengals to the playoffs twice, which wasn’t easy at all considering the talent (or lack thereof) around him. His 86.2 career passer rating suggests that he is a top 15 quarterback, which is definitely enough for the Cardinals. Arizona’s defense ranked 12th in the league in 2012, and the offense is stacked with weapons.
Due to Palmer’s potential and his supporting cast, if Palmer can perform like he did in 2005, the Cardinals will succeed. This was a huge pickup for the Cardinals, and it’s one that likely saved their season. With Alex Smith gone, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith were the other main options. Fitzpatrick hasn’t been able to hold up for a whole season, and the draft class was exceptionally weak at quarterback. Then, Palmer, a talented veteran, became available, and the Cardinals pounced on the opportunity to take him.
This was a great addition for the Cardinals. No one else was available, and Palmer is a stellar quarterback with the potential to play like a top 10 quarterback consistently. Arizona could look for its next great quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft, but Palmer is more than capable of keeping the starting quarterback job for an extended period of time.
Palmer is 33 years old, but Kurt Warner took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in his second-to-last year, and he took the Cardinals to the Divisional round in his final year. Palmer is a good fit in Arizona, and he is a guy who can restore hope among Cardinals fans quickly with stellar play. Because of this, the Cardinals nailed it with this trade, and they deserve an A for it.