As I’m sure you’ve heard, Colin Kaepernick signed a big extension with the San Francisco 49ers today. His contract means a huge payday for Kaepernick and confirmed him being the franchise quarterback in San Francisco for years to come. This set off a variety of responses from Arizona Cardinals fans who, let’s face it, haven’t exactly had a good recent week or so.
This afternoon, I turned the radio to local sports talk, flipping between the two major stations and there seemed to be one underlying theme of this contract spelling doom and gloom for the Cardinals. The Cardinals only have Carson Palmer. How can they compete in this division now and what will the team do going forward? Then, I checked twitter and Cards fans are debating how good Kapernick is, whether he deserved the extension and is an elite quarterback.
I’ll let you all in on something, none of that matters in the least.
Am I the only one who remembers the Cardinals going 10-6 last season, with the first half of the season seeing Palmer struggle in Bruce Arians‘ offense? Am I the only one who remembers being the only team to win in Seattle in two years and over the eventual Super Bowl champions at that? Am I the only one who remembers a number of NFL analysts stating that no NFL team wanted to have to face the Cardinals had they made the playoffs?
The Cardinals return mostly everyone on defense minus Daryl Washington, and I believe Todd Bowles is smart enough to account for Washington. Steve Keim might very well have another John Abraham type signing up his sleeve still, not to mention the players they have added in the secondary.
The Cardinals also figure to see improvement in pass protection with the addition of Jared Veldheer and Jonathan Cooper returning. Even if Bradley Sowell ends up becoming the starting right tackle, this offensive line should be much-improved. This will be great for Palmer, who finished with a strong second half of last season, including making the big throw that won in Seattle. If Palmer can continue on that track, and there’s no reason to think he can’t (despite what some local commentators say), this Cardinals offense, given the weapons it has added, should be able to pick up the slack, if there is any slack at all that the defense leaves with the loss of Washington.
So Cardinals fans, stop worrying about what the Niners are paying Kaepernick, or whether or not he deserves to be paid the amount he is being paid and focus on what you have here this season. What you have here is a team fresh off a season where they finished 10-6 and possibly a few plays from being 11-5. What you have here is a team that has improved overall on what it had last season.
There is no doom and gloom in Arizona, just a team poised to make a serious run at championship.