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Cardinals miss out on first big wave of QBs, end up signing Sam Bradford

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NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Before someone convinces you — hopefully long before because the following argument is dumb — that the Seahawks are going to finish last in the NFC West, please make note of this: The Cardinals do not have a quarterback and their odds of adding a good one any time soon, at least without a huge risk attached, are close to zero. In fact, they very well could end up as having the worst QB situation in the NFL for 2018.

I mean, as of now the Cards literally still don’t have a QB under contract for next season.

Update: The Arizona Cardinals have signed Sam Bradford to a reported 1-year, $20 million contract, with a $20 million option for a second season. They’ve got their QB now, although it’s not one of the hot names on the market.

Carson Palmer has retired, Drew Stanton, Matt Barkley, Blaine Gabbert are free agents. The Cardinals could have been connected to all the big name free agents or trade targets, but those are drying up quickly in the tampering period before free agency opens on Wednesday. They didn’t trade for Alex Smith, as Washington did. They didn’t sign Kirk Cousins, as the Minnesota Vikings reportedly agreed to do on Tuesday. They didn’t sign Case Keenum, who will now go to the Denver Broncos. In smaller but relevant news, the Browns acquired Tyrod Taylor and shipped off DeShone Kizer, both intriguing options in their own right.

Now welcome to the scariest territory for adding a QB in 2018: A.J. McCarron and Nick Foles.

I have no idea what McCarron will eventually sign for, as guesstimates range from a modest prove-it deal ($2-6 million?) to a Mike Glennon deal ($15m?) and it’s really up to how desperate teams are to throw a dart at a board that isn’t a rookie. But I would have little confidence that McCarron is going to change the fortune’s of the Cards for the near future (he might, but there’s not nearly enough evidence to feel “confident” about it) so I hope that if they sign him, it’s for a lot.

Foles has played this game before. Remember when he was dominant in 2013, then not in 2014, then traded to the NFC West in 2015, then a Chief in 2016, then awful again in Week 17 of this most recent season? Foles is the reigning Super Bowl MVP and worthy of an opportunity to start, but a huge risk nonetheless, especially if a team has to sacrifice a first round pick-plus some to acquire him.

Other QBs on the market this week: Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Josh McCown, Jay Cutler. They could also explore trades for Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brett Hundley, or someone else who is on the trade market for a reason.

The player they’ve now been connected with as a fallback option: Mike Glennon. Nearly-released, Glennon played as well as to be expected in his four starts with the Chicago Bears last season. He fits well as a backup, but not as option one. If Glennon is the starter for the Cards in 2018, which NFC team is worse off than that?

The Bears and Mitchell Trubisky? Most certainly not, and Trubisky is clearly the biggest risk in the NFC headed into next season, and he was just a top NFL draft pick. Who unseated Glennon just a few months ago. Foles would not necessarily even be that much of an upgrade from that and I think would still rank as the 16th-most desirable starting QB in the conference.

The Cards have the 15th overall pick and may finally go the route of drafting a QB again, having passed over interesting, quality options time and time again during the years of Palmer, leaving them in this position. Either way, it appears that the Cardinals could be using 2018 as a transition year where they try to gear up for a run at contention in 2019; even if that’s not what they planned to be doing, it’s what they’re left with after not doing enough planning to begin with.