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When You Get QB1, You Need To Keep QB1

Deshaun Watson talk reminder how important search is at position

When Kurt Warner retired -- and after it became clear Matt Leinart was not the answer at quarterback for the Cardinals -- the team was desperate to find a true QB1. It wasn't among the Derek Anderson/Max Hall/John Skelton 2010 combo. The Cards picked fifth in the 2011 draft, and they were correct in thinking taking Patrick Peterson there was smarter that grabbing Blaine Gabbert, who was the highest rated QB on the board at that point. So they went after one of the best QBs available in the trade market in Kevin Kolb.

Yes, you chuckle (or hurl your phone in retroactive anger) but the reality was that Kolb was indeed one of the best if not the best trade option. Because the reality is, if there is a quarterback that is good he is not available. It's absolutely the one position in the NFL that a team needs a high-level player for success. It's why the Cardinals were willing to draft Josh Rosen 10th overall in 2018 and a year later dump him when Kyler Murray was there at No. 1 overall. Because you've gotta have that guy.

It certainly makes this offseason and what's happening in the NFL unprecedented in a lot of ways.

Of course, it's highlighted by the reports of Deshaun Watson requesting a trade from Houston. The Texans organization certainly seems to be sideways at the moment, and was even before they dealt DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals. But when you have a top-5 or top-3 NFL quarterback, only 25 years old, and under contract, you can't let him go. The Texans might have to deal him because the relationship is that jacked up, but you're moving on from the very thing every NFL teams searches for first. Mind-boggling.

(Interestingly, USA Today ranked every NFL team in order of how eager they should be in trying to trade for Watson. The Cardinals were pretty low, No. 26, which isn't a surprise given Murray's talent and contract. The only teams they had who should be less eager, from No. 27-32: Packers, Ravens, Chargers, Jaguars with Trevor Lawrence coming, Seahawks, Chiefs.)

Watson isn't the only one out there being talked about, of course. The Lions have already made it known they will be trading Matthew Stafford. Aaron Rodgers stirred the pot about his own place in Green Bay. We're still waiting to hear if Drew Brees and/or Ben Roethlisberger are going to retire or give it at least one more year. But in all those cases, those are older QBs and certainly not in the same place in their careers as Watson. (Rodgers I don't think is going anywhere. He's league MVP and played for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.)

Again, this is why you want Kyler Murray to keep trending up, and to be that guy. Because you want to be set, and not have to go after Kevin Kolb.

Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones congratulates Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson after a TD pass in the Pro Bowl played in 2020.
Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones congratulates Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson after a TD pass in the Pro Bowl played in 2020.