Carson Palmer is 33 years old and hasn’t been chosen to a Pro Bowl since 2006, but the Cardinals believe he’s still in peak form.
Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim says he began studying Palmer almost immediately after he was promoted to the top spot in Arizona’s front office three months ago, without knowing whether or not the Raiders were interested in trading him. And the more Keim looked at Palmer, the more he liked what he saw.
“We started doing our due diligence on Carson in January,” Keim told the Arizona Republic. “And with our new video system, I was able to cut up every one of his passing plays for the last three seasons. I came away very, very pleasantly surprised. A lot of times in this business, you base your opinions on reputations. And when you study a guy, you come away disappointed or surprised. In this case, I saw that Carson still has the zing and can still make all the throws. That’s huge, especially with what Bruce [Arians] wants out of his quarterback.”
Statistically, it’s hard to say Palmer is at his prime: His numbers weren’t as good in 2012 as they were in 2005 and 2006, his two best seasons. But he did pass for 4,018 yards and complete 61.1 percent of his passes last season, which is still a huge improvement over the disaster that was the Cardinals’ passing game in 2012. Keim says the presence of Palmer changes everything in Arizona.
“Adding a piece like Carson to the puzzle really does energize everybody,” Keim said. “He’s a plug-and-play guy with lots of experience, who has seen every NFL defense. His career speaks for itself.”
If the Cardinals are right, that career is a long way from over.