It appears the Arizona Cardinals quarterback shopping list shrunk by one Wednesday as reports surfaced the San Francisco 49ers traded former #1 overall pick Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round pick this year (#34 overall) and a future mid-round pick in 2014. The Chiefs are expected to release Matt Cassel who has two years remaining on a six-year, $63 million deal.
Now new head coach Bruce Arians and General Manager Steve Keim are expected to search the free-agent market or target a QB from the prospects they scouted at the NFL Combine last week in Indianapolis.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted Wednesday Cassel will be on the Red Birds’ radar. He said at the Combine, whoever is under center next season Arians and his staff will conform the offense accordingly.
“They’re going to go out and look for quarterbacks who fit what [Arians] does or that they can adapt their offense to that quarterback’s strengths,” Schefter told Pros2Preps.com at Lucas Oil Stadium during the Combine. “It’s not going to be something that’s blind and random.”
As for possible options in the draft, some insiders believe the 2013 draft class is still a mixed bag after the prospects were poked, prodded, and examined head-to-toe at at the Combine.
“I don’t think we have any clearer picture,” NFL Network reporter Albert Breer told ‘Big Guy on Sports’ Tuesday afternoon. “A couple of the top guys didn’t throw. You have [West Virginia’s] Gino Smith who I think most people believe will be an NFL starter…the rest of the [quarterbacks] I’ve heard people say, ‘that guy’s not even a starter in the NFL.’ [USC’s Matt] Barkley’s the one you get the most varying opinions.”
Breer believes the Cards could “punt” on this year’s quarterback class, and sign a free-agent like Drew Stanton to a short-term deal to come in and compete for the starting job this fall before re-assessing the quarterbacks in the 2014 draft class. Stanton played for Arians in Indianapolis and is familiar with the vertical passing game he’s hoping to install in Arizona.
Another name that’s surfaced as a possibility is New England backup and former Arkansas Razorback Ryan Mallett. However, XTRA Sports 910’s Cardinal insider Mike Jurecki said the ‘Red Birds’ are likely to not pursue a trade.