It was always going to be a zero-sum game.
If Carson Palmer returned to the Arizona Cardinals for 2017, as he said he will today, you’d think that would take them out of the market for a veteran QB. So if/when any/all of Tony Romo, Jimmy Garoppolo, Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor, Jay Cutler, AJ McCarron, Mike Glennon become available, you can safely assume they’re not going to Arizona.
But even if Palmer’s return takes the Cardinals out of contention for any QBs on the free agent or trade market, you’d think they’d still address the position. Possibly with the No. 13 overall pick. Palmer is 37 years old, and though underrated, not Tom Brady. He’s also suffered significant injuries in each of the last three seasons, tearing his ACL in 2014, dislocating his finger in 2015 and suffering a concussion in 2016.
What does that mean for the Houston Texans?
That at least one of the top three QBs may not make it to No. 25.
Deshaun Watson is probably the most pro-ready of the three. He’s started 38 games in three seasons at Clemson, including each of the last two College Football Playoff National Championships against Alabama. Though the Tigers don’t run what you’d call a “pro-style” offense, who does anymore at the college level? The sheer volume of Watson’s reps — over 1,200 attempts, more than Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota — make him as seasoned a prospect as any in today’s college football. Plus, #DudeQualities.
In other words, for a team that’s trying to find the future and, possibly, the present at the position, Watson could be their best option.
That said, even if Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer need some polish, they would both fit head coach Bruce Arians scheme. They have big arms. Arians digs the deep ball. If the NFL Draft was a drunken escapade on Bumble, there’s a pretty good chance they both match.
The good news is, the Texans are likely to have a mess of options to choose from, and few of them bad. Depending on the price tag in a signing/trade, I like Romo, Garoppolo, Smith, Taylor and McCarron. I want no part of Cutler, whose face could actually singlehandedly lose the locker room for head coach Bill O’Brien, or Glennon, who makes Nick Foles look as graceful — and talented — as Aaron Rodgers.
What they’ll do remains to be seen, but with Palmer coming back, and putting Arizona squarely in the market for a rookie QB, trading up to select either Watson, Kizer or Trubisky has to be on the table.
Matt hosts Saturdays from 1-4 pm on SportsRadio 610. You can, and totally should, follow him on Twitter @MattHammondShow