Carson Palmer broke his arm, effectively ending his season, which creates a perfect storm for the Cardinals to sign Colin Kaepernick.
Different country, same problems. That was the story for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, as they have now been blown out on two different continents this season. The shellacking at the hands of the Rams was made even worse with the news that Carson Palmer broke his arm in the loss, effectively ending his season.
Palmer will miss the next eight weeks, as he’ll need to have his arm surgically repaired. In the interim, Drew Stanton will step in under center to try and guide the Cardinals ship out of the treacherous waters it has wandered into this year.
Stanton has been in the Cardinals system for four years now, which in theory means he is well suited to be the starter moving forward. BUt if there was ever a perfect storm for a team to sign Colin Kaepernick and end the standoff, it’s the Cardinals.
As you probably know, Kaepernick hasn’t been on an NFL roster since being cut by the 49ers this offseason. His protesting during the national anthem has been at the epicenter of the conversation being had over whether players should have to stand during the anthem or if they should be allowed to silently and peacefully protest. It’s a conversation he started and has up until this point sacrificed his career for. Despite players and owners following his lead and protesting in unison during the anthem just a few weeks ago, Kaepernick is still unemployed.
The Cardinals can and should change that.
Arizona has more than just ‘football reasons’ to sign Kaepernick. A team losing its starter hasn’t stopped them from passing on Kaepernick before, but the Cardinals are in a unique position. Teams like the Titans and Packers don’t have the embracing culture that Arizona has proven to possess.
Whether it’s taking players like Tyrann Mathieu or Robert Nkemdiche, the Cardinals have shown in the past that a player’s potential baggage isn’t something that will scare them off. Just this season, the team traded for a running back who was once suspended for abusing his child and was openly feuding with his head coach.
Unlike places like Dallas, where players see their baggage swept under the rug, Arizona has a culture where the baggage isn’t ignored, it’s dealt with. There will be detractors, but there was always going to be. Bruce Arians and company know how to deal with players who could be viewed as distractions, ones far worse than what Kaepernick would bring. Arians and the Cardinals are also familiar with Kaepernick after playing him twice a year for the last handful of seasons. It might not be a tight relationship, but the familiarity exists in ways it doesn’t elsewhere.
There are also legitimate football reasons to sign Kaepernick. The season is in the hands of Drew Stanton, and if he fails then it’s the Blaine Gabbert show. Neither quarterback is as talented as Kaepernick, and the Cardinals provide him the best compromise he could hope for. If Kaepernick is holding out for a starting job, then settling for a chance to beat out Stanton and Gabbert in Arizona is probably as good as it will get. (A disclosure: Gabbert has beaten Kaepernick out of a job once before) It’s not easy for a quarterback to come in and learn a system seven weeks into the season; folks who beat that drum have a valid argument. But at some point, Kaepernick needs to be given the opportunity to either prove he can still play or admit that he has lost a step.
It’s the perfect storm to end the Colin Kaepernick standoff. The only question is, will all parties involved be willing to push their chips to the center of the table. That’s a sign of unity we have yet to see this season.