QB Carousel: How NFL’s Game Of Musical Chairs Affects AZ Cardinals

Written By C.J. Pierre on April 18, 2022 - Last Updated on January 30, 2023

The entertaining game of NFL QB Musical Chairs is on a timeout. This brief pause comes after a flurry of quarterback movement unlike any offseason in recent memory.

One of the few spots where we expect the same signal-caller under center is with the Arizona Cardinals. Or so we think.

Recent reports suggest things are not all fine and dandy between Kyler Murray and the team’s front office. It appears too late to move him. However, the question remains, how does all of this recent change impact the Cards’ 2022 expectations?

One less concern in NFC West

The 2022 offseason QB carousel sent a major thorn in the Cardinals’ side away. Longtime Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was a part of a trade package sent to the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. In return, Seattle received QB Drew Lock and some other pieces in the deal. No offense to Lock, but he will not strike fear into the hearts of Cardinals, Rams and 49ers fans.

The Seahawks could take this opportunity to draft a new franchise QB in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, many experts believe this year’s QB draft class is relatively weak. Meaning no quarterback drafted this year is expected to make a significant impact as a rookie.

This means that Arizona has one less threat to worry about in the NFC West. Arizona sports betting sites are projecting that Seattle will struggle in 2022. Some AZ Sportsbooks have the over/under win total for the Seahawks at .

Ahead of the NFL draft, online betting sites in Arizona are giving the Cardinals the third-best odds to win the division. That would make sense given the Los Angeles Rams are the defending Super Bowl champions and the San Francisco 49ers made it to the NFC Championship game.

Most AZ sportsbooks are giving Arizona reasonable odds to make the playoffs, (). It could be a solid play for Cards fans in the Grand Canyon State.

AFC gets stronger while NFC seemingly gets weaker

Trying to make sense of all of the player movement this offseason can lead to a headache. However, one takeaway appears to be universal among NFL experts. The AFC is loaded.

Here is a list of QBs in the AFC on teams expected to make a run to the Super Bowl:

  • Russell Wilson – DEN (after trade with SEA)
  • Matt Ryan – IND (after trade with ATL)
  • Deshaun Watson – CLE (after trade with HOU)
  • Patrick Mahomes – KC
  • Joe Burrow – CIN
  • Justin Herbert – LAC
  • Josh Allen – BUF
  • Lamar Jackson – BAL
  • Derek Carr – LV
  • Ryan Tannehill – TEN

That list doesn’t even include the Miami Dolphins with Tua Tagovailoa or the New England Patriots with Mac Jones. That’s two QBs on two teams with goals of at least making it to the NFL postseason.

Meanwhile, here is a list of NFC QBs on teams looking to make a Super Bowl run:

  • Kyler Murray – ARI
  • Aaron Rodgers – GB (signed an extension with the Packers)
  • Tom Brady – TB (returned after a brief retirement)
  • Matthew Stafford – LAR
  • Dak Prescott – DAL
  • Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance – SF

The only QB additions made in the NFC were with the Washington Commanders when they traded for former Colts QB Carson Wentz and the Atlanta Falcons, who added Marcus Mariota. Neither Washington nor Atlanta is expected to make a title run this year.

That gives the AFC ten Super Bowl contenders and just six in the NFC. So you would think that the path to Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, should be much easier for the Cardinals.

Maybe, however, Arizona is projected to have the second-toughest schedule in 2022. So we will see if the Cardinals will be able to take another step forward. They will need their quarterback to do so.

Murray vs. AZ Cardinals front office, more QBs are available

With the NFC playoff picture wide open this season, this is a prime year for the Arizona Cardinals to make a deep playoff run. However, Kyler Murray will need to be a big part of that. And right now, the Cardinals’ star QB is at odds with the team’s leadership.

We’ve previously talked about Murray’s social media purge in February. We assumed then that the issues surrounded Kyler’s contract situation. It turns out that we may have been right. It is being reported that Murray does not intend to play for Arizona without a new deal.

If Arizona wants to make any noise in 2022, they will need Murray. The team’s win total has gone up every season with him at QB. It would be foolish to trade him. Some might wonder if there are other options out there. The answer is yes. However, they may not be better.

The QB carousel could pick up after the 2022 NFL Draft. Guys like Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold are expected to become available. There are also unknowns like Jordan Love and Tyler Huntley. Do Cardinals fans want to see Ryan Fitzpatrick add the Arizona red and white to his jersey collection?

So while there are technically more options out there, none of them would make Arizona a Super Bowl contender. So I say, stick with Kyler and make it work.

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski, Kyusung Gong & Michael Conroy
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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