Yesterday, we asked who should quarterback the Chiefs in 2012. Might as well turn this thing into an ongoing series and turn our attention to another team with questions regarding who’ll be under center next season. On this cold, wintry Friday, we go to Glendale, Ariz. to take a look at the Cardinals’ QB situation.
Kevin Kolb struggled when healthy and struggled to stay healthy in 2011. And despite the fact he signed a five-year, $61-million extension when he was dealt to Arizona last summer, the Cards have an opportunity to live up to a mistake and cut Kolb without paying him another dime in addition to the $12 million he made last season.
That would have to happen by March 17, which would presumably give the Cardinals a week or two to assess the health of — and their chances of landing — Peyton Manning, who is fully expected to become a free agent early next month.
Of course, those two developments don’t have to go hand-in-hand. The Cardinals may still show interest in Manning, but it also seems as though they’re going to give Kolb a $7-million bonus on the 17th, making him the favorite to “lead” the team into the 2012 season.
“There’s no reason to think at this particular point that we wouldn’t proceed with…seeing the contract through,” Cards general manager Rod Graves said in an interview this week on KTAR-AM in Phoenix, “but things change as we go down the road.”
“At all positions, we try to maintain flexibility and the ability to take a look at any free agent out on the market that we feel has the ability to help our football team,” he added.
But there’s another card in Graves’ deck (haha get it!?). John Skelton was the quarterback for six of Arizona’s eight wins in 2011. That has some thinking he could push Kolb for his starting job in 2012. But while his win-loss record was impressive, only one of Skelton’s wins came against a team with a winning record (and from a technical standpoint, that was Kolb’s win since he actually started the game). Kolb just happened to start against tougher opponents such as the Giants, Steelers and Ravens.
Kolb’s numbers were better than Skelton’s across the board.
I’m sure we’ll have an interesting competition this summer, but it’s hard to imagine anyone but Manning or Kolb starting in Week 1. Kolb’s being paid the big bucks, while Skelton’s on the hook for less than a million dollars. If they do land Manning, there are obviously no assurances he’ll be healthy enough in September.
Other free-agent possibilities exist, such as Matt Flynn, David Garrard and Jason Campbell. But I get the sense the Cards will make a run at Manning, and settle for Kolb in the worst-case scenario.