The Cardinals were the last team with a head coach vacancy until Steve Wilks was hired on Monday. This comes with no surprise though, as owner, Michael Bidwill, and general manager, Steve Keim, emphasized that they were going to take their time to find the right option which was very similar to how they hired Bruce Arians five years ago.
This offseason the Arizona Cardinals had two huge positions to fill: head coach and starting quarterback. Now with the head coaching job given to Steve Wilks, Steve Keim is 100% focused on replacing Carson Palmer.
Who will be the next Cardinals quarterback?
At quarterback, the Cardinals have two options: trade up and get someone in the draft in April or sign a veteran quarterback in free agency. Both options offer a lot of excitement as there are many solid options. For the draft, the Cardinals have the 15th pick as of now in a draft where four or five quarterbacks (Josh Rosen, Max Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, and Lamar Jackson) could be gone before their pick. This could lead to the Cardinals waiting for the draft and trying to trade up to get one of these potential franchise quarterbacks.
The other option is the Cardinals turning to free-agency to fulfill their quarterback need with a veteran player. Here are some potential candidates: Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor, Eli Manning, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, and Drew Stanton.
Drew Brees, Jimmy Garoppolo, Case Keenum, and Kirk Cousins will also be available in free-agency but are a far reach for what we would have to give up to get them.
Brees is already 39 years old and just lead his team to the second round of the playoffs, so he will likely give it a couple more tries in New Orleans with their explosive offense before retiring. Garoppolo is one of the most sought-after candidates after turning the 49ers horrific season into an optimistic one with four straight wins. Garoppolo will likely get a large check from the 49ers or Patriots. Keenum is also another great option after leading the Vikings to the NFC Championship after Bradford’s injury in the early season. Keenum is likely going to be franchise tagged by the Vikings. Cousins is probably the Cardinals best shot out of these four candidates, but will likely stay on the Redskins or go to the Browns and get paid a big check.
The Best Option
Alex Smith from the Chiefs is the best option despite the need to trade for him as he has one more year on his contract. The Chiefs had a letdown year after a hot start in Week One against the Patriots. This may allow for Andy Reid to move on from Smith and give Patrick Mahomes (2017 first round pick) a chance with young weapons Hill, Kelce, and Hunt, which could give the Cardinals a chance to get Alex Smith who would be a great fit with David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald.
Even if the Cardinals do not get Smith, they still have other possible fits in Sam Bradford or Tyrod Taylor. Bradford is only 30 years old, but the previous number one pick has been riddled with injuries. When Bradford is healthy though, he shows his great potential, and the Cardinals may be able to get him at a low cost. The other option is Tyrod Taylor, the Buffalo Bills quarterback. Taylor has great athleticism and has shown he can win games in Buffalo with few weapons, but Taylor needs to work on his accuracy.
We will see what the Cardinals decide to do as the Super Bowl comes to a close in two weeks and as the draft approaches in a couple months. If the Chiefs are open to a trade, Alex Smith would be the best fit for the Cardinals.