How does Matt Barkley play into the Arizona Cardinals’ plans
By Erich Becker
Arizona Cardinals backup quarterback Matt Barkley could be on short list of candidates to replace Carson Palmer in a couple of years
Let’s take a trip back to last summer when the Arizona Cardinals were preparing to play in the final preseason game. We knew that Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton wouldn’t see any playtime, especially after the injuries both suffered in the season before, but we didn’t expect to see Phillip Simms starting for the team.
Well, maybe we did.
Logan Thomas and Phillip Simms were competing for the third quarterback spot on the roster, a place previously held by Ryan Lindley who lead the team into the playoffs into a disappointing loss at Carolina in the Wild Card round after injuries claimed their division title. But while the betting man may have put his money on Simms or Thomas, no one expected both to be released the first week of September, on the eve of final roster cuts for the 2015 season.
So, what the team do? They traded a seventh round pick for Matt Barkley, previously of the Eagles, who had a self-proclaimed terrible workout and pro-day in college after coming off a serious shoulder injury. But he had promise. AZCardinals quotes Arians as saying, “Logan had unbelievable upside but I really liked Matt.” The team had tried out both Barkley and Thomas prior to the 2013 draft, but, after two disappointing seasons, the team gave up on Thomas once thought to be the prototypical Arians, big quarterback.
But what is Barkley here for? Luckily he never saw the field for the Cardinals in 2015-2016. Being acquired at the start of the season he didn’t even get to play in preseason, but we also didn’t have to see Drew Stanton aside from a few kneel downs and a single play when Palmer, presumably, dislocated his finger in the Eagles game.
Barkley’s career stats are not great, 300 yards total and four interceptions. That’s nothing to write home about, but it is a very limited sample size for a quarterback who shined in college. One of the quarterbacks that Barkley played against was Brock Osweiler of the Denver Broncos who kept the team on track until an injured Peyton Manning was able to come back and lead the team to the Super Bowl. There are high hopes for Osweiler, and there are similar high hopes around the Cardinals for Barkley, that he’ll turn into something that can be great.
Drew Stanton is a free agent in a few weeks and there has been little indication if the team will resign him. While a great backup, he’s not the most accurate thrower (but neither is Barkley with four picks to go with 300 career yards). Still, with Palmer now 36 time is on the side of the young, something that Barkley is, but is it something that the Cardinals are willing to bet the farm on? That remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, how the Cardinals perform in free agency starting in early March will determine Barkley’s status on this team going into OTAs and camp, and where he is after all that is very much in question, but with a bright outlook.