Who Starts at QB for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1?

by Rick Rockwell
on August 15, 2018
8

Minute Read

With the retirement of Carson Palmer after the 2017 NFL season, the Arizona Cardinals were forced to look for a new starting quarterback. Unfortunately, they were among a handful of NFL teams also looking for a starting QB during the offseason. Once free agency hit in March, it became a QB feeding frenzy as the Vikings, Broncos, Bills, Jets, and Cardinals all signed quarterbacks that will compete for the starting QB vacancies on their teams.

For the Cardinals, they basically revamped their entire QB depth chart with three new quarterbacks to the roster. Furthermore, the QB battle has been ongoing throughout the OTAs, training camp and now in Preseason games. With only a few more weeks until the NFL regular season begins, which one of these quarterbacks will end up starting for the Cardinals in Week 1 of the NFL season? The following odds are courtesy of BetDSI.eu:

Sam Bradford (-320)

Sam Bradford was the 1st overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and was expected to be the next franchise quarterback for the St. Louis Rams. Unfortunately, injuries derailed the young QB’s career and he ultimately was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in March 2015, for Nick Foles and a few draft picks. After one season with the Eagles, and a 2-year contract extension, the Eagles traded with the Browns for the #2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft where Philly selected Carson Wentz. Eventually, it led to Bradford being traded to the Minnesota Vikings in the beginning of the 2016 NFL season. The Eagles got 1st and 4th round picks for Bradford, and the Vikings got a starting quarterback after their previous starter Teddy Bridgewater suffered a season ending knee injury.

Bradford would go on to have a stellar 2016 season with career numbers. From there, the Vikings believed that Sam would be the starter for the 2017 season. Unfortunately, Bradford’s injury history caught up to him and he had to undergo another knee surgery that led to being placed on season ending injury reserve.

The Vikings would end up signing Kirk Cousins during the 2018 free agency period and let Sam Bradford go find another team. The Cardinals swooped in and signed Bradford to a 2-year contract that could earn him up to $20 million in the first season. The following is a quick glance at Bradford’s stats over the last few years:

Year Team Games Att Comp Pass Yds TDs INTs
2017 Minnesota 2 43 32 382 3 0
2016 Minnesota 15 552 395 3,877 20 5
2015 Philadelphia 14 532 346 3,725 19 14
2014 Starting QB for the St. Louis Rams, but missed all season due to injury.
2013 St. Louis 7 262 159 1,687 14 4

Bradford has always had the arm talent and the intelligence to be a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately, he’s been plagued with injuries his entire career. Despite being categorized as “injury prone,” the Cardinals still offered a sizable short-term contract to Bradford with the intentions of him becoming their starting QB for the 2018 season.

In the 1st preseason game for the Cardinals, Bradford only played in one series where he threw just one pass that went for 6-yards. However, the starting offense went 45 yards and scored a touchdown. Although Bradford didn’t do much, he led the offense down the field and to an opening scoring drive.

After that drive, Bradford gave way to rookie Josh Rosen who is trying to surpass Sam on the depth chart to become starting QB in Week 1 of the regular season.

Josh Rosen (+270)

Despite signing Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon in March, the Arizona Cardinals doubled-down on finding their franchise quarterback opening by drafting Josh Rosen out of UCLA with the 10th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Rosen was considered one of the top QB’s coming out of college this year and quite possibly the best pocket passer in this draft class. Additionally, Rosen was heralded as being a very intelligent quarterback who should be pro-ready for his rookie season. One concern about Rosen coming out of college was that he did have a significant shoulder injury in 2016 that caused him to miss most of the season. Additionally, he has had concussion concerns.

Year Team Games Att Comp Pass Yds TDs INTs
2017 UCLA 13 487 292 3,670 23 11
2016 UCLA 6 231 137 1,915 10 5
2015 UCLA 11 452 283 3,756 26 10

When healthy, Rosen was able to put together impressive career numbers especially during his freshman and junior seasons. The Arizona Cardinals were enamored with Rosen and believed he could fit the system they planned on running. The team drafted Rosen in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 10th overall pick and signed him to a 4-year, $17.8 million dollar contract.

During the summer, Rosen looked good. In fact, there were many members of the media and Arizona fans who were publicly proclaiming that Rosen will overtake Bradford as the top QB. Unfortunately, those fiery proclamations were squelched during the first NFL preseason game as Rosen didn’t quite light up the stat sheet. Josh went 6-of-13 for 41 passing yards and zero touchdowns. Fortunately, he also didn’t turn the ball over. Rosen showed that he has NFL potential, but isn’t as close to surpassing Bradford yet.

Mike Glennon (+1740)

Around the same time that the Cardinals were pursuing Sam Bradford, they reached an agreement with free agent QB Mike Glennon on a 2-year, $8 million dollar deal. The 28-year old was signed to provide QB depth and someone who could start for the team if needed.

Prior to signing with the Cardinals, Glennon was with the Bears as their former starter, turned backup before the team decided to part ways with Mike in favor of their 2017 1st round draft pick Mitch Trubisky. He had signed with the Bears during March 2017 on a 3-year, $45 million dollar deal. He was brought in to be the starter, but only last 4 games before Trubisky took over.

The Bears signed Glennon after he spent the first 4 years of his career with the Buccaneers and was viewed as having plenty of arm talent to become a starting QB in the league. The Bucs kept Glennon as a backup for most of his career after drafting him in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Year Team Games Att Comp Pass Yds TDs INTs
2017 Chicago 4 140 93 833 4 5
2016 Tampa Bay 2 11 10 75 1 0
2015 Tampa Bay Did not play. Was backup QB.  
2014 Tampa Bay 6 203 117 1,417 10 6
2013 Tampa Bay 13 416 247 2,606 19 9

Glennon’s tenure with the Bears was an epic failure. It wasn’t all his fault, but 8 turnovers in 4 games does tend to cause the coaches and team to lose confidence in a starting QB. However, that situation wasn’t a good fit for Glennon’s skillset. I actually believe the Cardinals offer Glennon a good opportunity to regain any lost confidence and to play without any pressure. He provides valuable insurance for the franchise in case Bradford or Rosen suffer injuries and in case Josh has any rookie struggles.

Glennon didn’t have solid preseason debut for the Cardinals as he went 2-of-7 for 11 yards and 1 interception. However, he was playing with 2nd and 3rd string units.

There’s also a growing sentiment that Glennon could be a valuable trade asset for the Cardinals before the seasons starts. Other teams in the league could be looking for a potential backup QB based on injuries, poor play, etc.

Which Cardinals QB Will Win the Starting Job?

When healthy, Sam Bradford is the obvious choice. He has a proven track record as a starter and has had more success in the NFL than Glennon or Rosen. In Arizona, Bradford will have a solid running game and a great group of receivers around him. Additionally, the Cardinals offensive line is expected to play better this year. With David Johnson back as the top running back, the Cardinals won’t be as predictable and that will help Bradford.

Rosen will be the quarterback of the future. However, I don’t see him outplaying Bradford during the rest of the preseason. Additionally, I don’t see Bradford playing poor enough for Rosen to take over. The only way Josh gets in there sooner, is if Bradford suffers another injury. I would love to see the betting odds on that.

As for Glennon, I don’t think the Cardinals should trade him. I believe the injury history of Bradford should keep the Cardinals cautious enough to want Glennon as an insurance policy. The only way they should trade him is if another team makes an offer that they can’t refuse. Yes, $4 million per year might be too much for a 3rd string QB, but it’s also an insurance policy in case Rosen takes longer to excel and in case Bradford gets hurt again.

For this NFL prop bet, take Sam Bradford to be the Arizona Cardinals Week 1 starter.

NFL Bet: Sam Bradford (-320)
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