By Cuyler Meade
It’s easy to be optimistic about next year’s Arizona Cardinals team.
They added an elite pass rusher in Chandler Jones. They beefed up their offensive line with Evan Mathis. They’ll get Tyrann Mathieu back from injury. They’re returning the core of a team that steamrolled into the NFC Championship game after winning 13 games and running away with a division that doesn’t seem to have gotten any better in the offseason.
But SI.com NFL insider Peter King is cautious in his optimism about Bruce Arians’ team.
“Well, they are a better team,” King told Brad Cesmat of Sports360az.com on Wednesday. “But, and Arians talked about this [Wednesday], he said, ‘I have all the faith in the world that Carson Palmer, he’s going to have a short memory, he’s going to be fine.’ And he probably is, but I think if you’re the Cardinals, deep down inside, if you’re a Cardinals fan, you want to see Carson Palmer play well in January.”
King, who agreed Arians and GM Steve Keim have made laudably gutsy moves this offseason to try to improve the team, said that everything still comes down to
Palmer, whose performance in the NFC Championship game was in arguably dreadful.
“He’s going to have something to prove this year,” King said. King also noted that the moves the Cardinals have made had the possibility to end up looking like mistakes in a few years.
If the Patriots are able to resuscitate the career of Jonathan Cooper – one of the two pieces the Cardinals gave up in the Chandler Jones deal – King said, and turn him into the player he was drafted to be, it’s possible this is an expensive loss for the Cardinals in the long-term.
“But then again, in the immortal words of Bill Parcels: ‘they don’t sell insurance for this stuff,’” King said. “You have to take a chance. The thing I like about Keim and Arians is that they’ve got the guts to make a call like this and know that ‘hey, it might not work out.’”