‘One man’s trash…’
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. If you don’t have a capable pivot behind centre, you’re not going anywhere fast unless you have a beast named Adrian Peterson accompanying him in the backfield. Despite having a whole country of college programs pumping out pro prospects each year, the NFL never has enough serviceable starters to go around. The end result? Washed up has-beens and never-was’s with no right whatsoever starting, getting the call. Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, and Matt Flynn all found new homes in the first week of April, and they’re all going to be the guy for their teams for the foreseeable future.
Palmer was traded from the Raiders along with a seventh round pick to the Cardinals for a sixth rounder this year and a conditional seventh rounder in 2014, and that’s about as much as he’s worth. The deal is a far cry from the king’s ransom of a first and a second rounder that the Raiders paid to pry him from Cincinnati in 2011. Further angering Oakland fans, Palmer agreed to restructure his deal with Arizona (something he refused to do for the black and silver) to a two-year deal worth a reported $16-million. It’s really no wonder the Raiders are such a miserable football team.
In terms of what Palmer can do for the Cards, it’s anyone’s guess. But if there’s anyone who likes the move, it’s Larry Fitzgerald. The quarterback carousel he had to work with last year was nothing short of abysmal. Factor in second-year pro Michael Floyd and emerging threat Andre Roberts and the Cardinals almost have a respectable looking offense. Except for one thing: the offensive line. It really doesn’t matter if you’ve got Michael Vick or Jared Lorenzen back there, whoever it is, is going to end up flat on their back. The Cards’ line gave up 58 sacks last season, seven more than any other team, and there’s nothing Palmer can do to fix that. He may not even be a lock for his oodles of meaningless yardage if the team can’t keep him on his feet. Quarterbacking was a problem for Arizona last season, but it was just part of the problem.
As for Kevin Kolb, he’s getting a fresh start in Buffalo after signing a two-year deal worth up to $13 million. Sure, it’s not a mega contract, but its starter’s money for a borderline player. Kolb’s greatest claim to fame in his career so far is being the crown jewel of one of the worst trades in recent memory. He hasn’t made a Pro Bowl. He hasn’t put up great stats. He hasn’t even been able to stay healthy. He’s still living off of the fumes of those flashes of potential he showed in Philly, and realistically, if he screws the pooch in Buffalo, he can say goodbye to any hopes he had of sticking as a starter in this league. Buffalo can’t really see him as a long-term solution at quarterback, but they could do worse. On Kolb’s reasonable contract, they have the flexibility of seeing where he can take them without making too much of a commitment. In any case, Kolb is definitely an upgrade over having to stick Tarvaris Jackson in the game.
Last, but not least is Matt Flynn. The ex-Packer and Seahawk was traded to Oakland for a fifth rounder in 2014 and a conditional pick in 2015. In Flynn, the Raiders get their hands on a very unproven commodity. Set to make $6.5 million this season, Flynn only has one solid game to his name which he managed to parlay into a fat contract with the Seahawks last season to be their starter before running into talented rookie, Russell Wilson. Terrelle Pryor, Al Davis’ last project before his death, can’t be happy about Flynn’s arrival, but in the end, from the fans’ perspective, it doesn’t matter who’s taking the snaps. Denarius Moore and Rod Streater aren’t exactly all-pro wideouts, not even a die-hard Raiders’ fan could name one of their tight ends right now, and Darren McFadden couldn’t stay healthy if his life depended on it. It could very well be the worst offense in the NFL next year. But that’s not Flynn’s fault.
All of these moves are ultimately going to be stop-gap measures for the most part. Palmer’s not getting any younger, Kolb will likely never realize that potential seen with the Eagles, and Flynn just has no weapons to work with. Good thing the draft is coming up.