Possibly the team in the most need of a change at quarterback heading into the 2013 NFL season are the Arizona Cardinals, who might be joining the chase after Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers by offering some sort of lucrative trade package.
One thing to consider before getting caught up in the rumors – the Cardinals, while finishing only 5-11 last season, are divisional rivals for the 49ers, which means they’ll probably be looking last at them among the few options they do have between teams trying to get Smith to be their starting quarterback next season.
If the Cardinals and their new head coach, Bruce Arians, do go for Smith, it’ll we be the second major quarterbacking change the franchise has pulled the trigger on after trading for Kevin Kolb not too long ago; the same Kolb that will be asked to take a pay cut (in nice words, restructure his contract) this off-season after two rather disappointing seasons, partly to blame on the lack of a running game and an offensive line. He’s due a bonus of $2 million if he’s on the roster March 17 and his salary for this year is scheduled to be $9 million.
The 49ers owe Smith a bonus of $1 million if he’s on the roster on March 15. On April 1, his $8.5 million salary becomes guaranteed. The Cardinals can still keep both Smith and Kolb on the roster, but if they do release their current quarterback, starting in only 14 games since coming over from the Philadelphia Eagles, they’d still have to account for $6 million on the salary cap.
Alex Smith’s final full game for the 49ers was against the Cardinals actually, completing 18 of 19 passes in a 24-3 win, throwing for 3 touchdowns and posting a 157.1 passer rating. It’s still unclear how badly the Cardinals do want the player also followed and wanted by the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars. It has also been rumored that Bruce Arians is interested in bringing in Drew Stanton from the Indianapolis Colts after serving as an offensive coordinator with the team in 2012.