When the Cardinals put injured quarterback Kyler Murray on the PUP list, the hope was that Arizona could tread water. At 1-3 and close losses to Washington and New York, the Cardinals showed they could stay close, and maybe win a few. A tough loss in San Francisco was preceded by a big win at home to Dallas. Now, after solid play by Josh Dobbs, the Cardinals have a quarterback conundrum.
The Cardinals Have a Quarterback Conundrum
Murray was thought to come off the PUP list after a four-week stint to open the season. Now, the timetable grows murky as Dobbs begins to play better, the potential of interrupting a rhythm the offense has found and keeping Murray healthy for a potential trade.
As with most things, it becomes all about the numbers, and surprisingly, moving Murray is not an impossible task. If the Cardinals bail on their former first-round pick after June 1, 2024, Arizona would save in the area of $39 million. The dead money that they would pick up is approximately $13 million.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) July 23, 2023
Murray on another team in 2024 seems like a foregone conclusion. What the two bigger questions could be is what to do with Dobbs and who is the No.1 pick?
Is it possible Dobbs could ascend to the top of the depth chart in Arizona, or is he a one-year bridge to the future? The journeyman quarterback won his first game in Week 3 against Dallas while showing tremendous poise against the Giants and 49ers. This young Cardinals team has begun to gel with Dobbs on offense and his veteran leadership overall. To interrupt that could prove problematic.
It’s well-known in circles that USC quarterback Caleb Williams has options. He could stay in Los Angeles where the living is good and endorsements are plentiful. Other rookie signal-callers who could be a future replacement in Arizona are Michael Penix Jr.- Washington, Drake Maye – North Carolina, and Tyler Van Van – Dyke, Miami. All could be hovering in that rarified air at or near the top of the draft. Worst case scenario, Murray stays along with Dobbs and rookie Clayton Tune third on the depth chart.
If They Draft Caleb, Will He Come?
One potential fly in the ointment for the Cardinals has been Williams toying with the idea of going back to the Trojans for his senior season. That could be disastrous if the quarterback were to be injured. He could, theoretically, use that as a wedge to prevent Arizona from selecting him. Additionally, with two more months to go in the college season, a lot could happen, and it’s not unusual to see someone rise to the top and turn conventional wisdom on its head.
Caleb Williams played in Arizona tonight. The Cardinals could get the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft.
Williams was asked about playing in Arizona and his dad’s quote in a GQ story about possibly returning to school. His answers: pic.twitter.com/560aGOhaYt
— Trevor Booth (@TrevorMBooth) September 24, 2023
GM Monti Ossenfort was remarkably successful in his inaugural draft with the Cardinals. The youth movement happening in Arizona looks to be rooted in players who could be longtime contributors. Adding a young quarterback to that movement could vault the Cardinals to the top of the division. After that, who knows what could happen?
Murray, Dobbs, or a rookie quarterback TBD is about as envious a blank canvas as you’ll find in the NFL. If Ossenfort can paint another master stroke, this Cardinals team could set the pace in the NFC West.
Main Photo: [Rob Schumacher/The Republic] – USA Today Sports