Now that we are past the NFL draft, I can take an early assessment of where we are as a team before the end of the lockout and eventual start of free agency. Today, I will look at the quarterback position.
Going into the weekend, this was a huge question mark, but within a few minutes of the start of the second round we now have a much clearer picture of things to come for this franchise. Our starter will presumably be 2nd round pick Andy Dalton of TCU. As currently configured, there is also a Palmer that wants to be here, Jordan, and one that doesn’t, Carson. Jordan has shown some maturity and is fighting to be a leader of the team, something you would have expected out of his brother, and I could see the team keeping him around unless they opt to sign a veteran quarterback. Lastly, there is Dan LeFevour, a 6th round pick from the 2010 Bears draft that we claimed off of the waiver wire.
Best case scenario: Carson makes a gentleman’s agreement with Mike Brown and comes back to start while grooming Dalton as an understudy, has a great season to maximize his value, and gets dealt in the offseason for a decent haul of picks. Dalton takes over in 2012.
Worst case scenario: Mike Brown digs in his heels, as does Carson, and Palmer retires. Dalton is thrown into the fire with an abbreviated camp due to the lockout, and Jordan and LeFevour are the backups.
Another Possibility: Brown deals Carson Palmer for what he can get or dumps him on the reserve/retired list, we jettison Jordan Palmer and sign an experienced West Coast quarterback to bridge the gap to the Dalton era.
Outlook: Regardless of what happens to the Palmer brothers, we have our guy of the future. With a soft schedule in 2011, it seems remotely possible that we can fight our way back into the playoff mix even with a rookie under center. The lockout will play a big part in how well we do with a new offensive coordinator, rookie quarterback, and young receiving corps. It seems prudent to set expectations low and hope for the best.