For years, a perfectly capable starting quarterback was hiding in plain sight, as a perennial backup. As Geno Smith thrives in his first year as a full-time starter since 2014, it’s worth noting that another former starter continues to have relevance years after he last served as a QB1.
Colt McCoy hasn’t been a starting quarterback since 2011, in his second NFL season with the Browns. He’s 3-1 over the past two years in Arizona, and he’s widely liked and respected by his teammates and coaches.
In 2017, some in Washington wanted to keep McCoy as the starter at $3 million for the season in lieu of paying Kirk Cousins $24 million under the franchise tag, with the argument being that Cousins wasn’t eight times better than McCoy.
McCoy will potentially get a chance to play another game or two, as starter Kyler Murray recovers from a hamstring injury.
To McCoy’s credit, he keeps going and going as a backup. And he’s getting paid well for it; his current contract (which runs through 2023) averages $3.75 million per year. (Some Cardinals fans would say that Murray isn’t 12 times better than McCoy.)
It’s unclear how much longer McCoy will play. He’s currently 36. But he has limited wear and tear relative to other quarterbacks his age, and he can be trusted to keep things under control during a short-term absence by the starter.
At 4-6, the Cardinals are far from finished. If McCoy can keep them in the mix while Murray gets healthy, a late-season run at a wild-card berth remains possible.
It’s probable if not definite that the Cardinals will keep McCoy around. Given Murray’s size and style of play, injuries are more likely for him than for other quarterbacks. The Cardinals need a backup on whom they can rely.
They definitely can rely on Colt McCoy.