The Cardinals participated in "Read Across America" day at The Salvation Army in Phoenix on Wednesday
Drew Stanton sat before dozens of elementary school kids on Wednesday afternoon, reading aloud a Dr. Seuss book as part of "Read Across America" day at the Salvation Army KROC Center in South Phoenix.
When it comes to his impending free agency, the Cardinals backup quarterback is subscribing to a passage from the Robert Burns poem "To A Mouse," knowing best-laid plans often go awry.
Stanton has dipped into free agency twice before, and each time it didn't result as expected. He signed with the Jets in 2012, but five days later they acquired Tim Tebow, and two days after that he was traded to the Colts. In 2013, he signed with the Cardinals to be the starter, but they added Carson Palmer three weeks later.
There seem to be two trains of thought surrounding Stanton this time around: Either he finds an opportunity elsewhere with a better shot at playing time, or he returns as Palmer's security blanket for an organization that values him.
But as Stanton knows all too well, free agency isn't always that simple.
"You try to look through the fog, but sometimes you can't," Stanton said. "There have been multiple times that I've gone through this process when I thought I was making the right decision, and then a curveball gets thrown my way after you sign, or right before you sign, or all that stuff. So you don't know. I want to surround myself with good organizations that have good people within them. I think this is one of those places. So I don't want to leave here, but at the same time, if I have to, then I will."
Stanton said this return to free agency is different from 2013 because now he has a family to consider. He was excellent at reading to the young audience at the Salvation Army, and said that comes from the practice he's gotten with his two children.
If he joins a new team, it means uprooting their lives after three years in Arizona.
"I think you try to take in all the information that you can, see what's out there, and make the best decision for you and your family," Stanton said. "It's going to be difficult to leave here if we have to, but at the same time, that's the way the business goes. You become numb to some of that in a sense, because I'm fortunate to go through this for another time going on my tenth year. But again, you have no idea what to expect."
While a few quarterback dominoes may have to fall ahead of him, Stanton should soon get a sense of whether another team believes he can compete for their starting spot. The quarterback crop is thin in free agency, and Stanton knows it's rare for a player to have leverage.
Once he signs on the dotted line, Stanton is powerless to affect other moves, so he's thinking long and hard about what the best situation will be for him moving forward.
"I think at the end of the day, I have to do what's best for my family," Stanton said. "I think from an organizational standpoint, each and every team is going to do what's best for them. That's the business we signed up for. As long as I continue to play, it's going to be that way. So you adhere to the rules and you try to do everything you can when the ball is in your court to have control of what's going on. We'll see what that is and how that transpires in the end."