Arizona inked Gabbert, the 10th overall selection in the 2010 draft, to a one-year, minimum salary benefit this offseason, and given that he began the season as the club’s third quarterback behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, the Cardinals likely didn’t envision Gabbert becoming their starter this year. But injuries to both Palmer and Stanton have forced Arizona to insert Gabbert into the starting lineup, and head coach Bruce Arians hasn’t dismissed the idea of using Gabbert as a starter in 2018.
Whether or not the Cardinals need Gabbert next season will likely hinge on Palmer’s retirement decision: the veteran signal-caller will turn 38 years old later this month, and has flirted with retirement in the past. If he returns in 2018, Palmer will almost certainly be Arizona’s starter, but if he hangs up his cleats, the Cards could use Gabbert as a low-cost insurance policy.
While Gabbert has clearly never lived up to his draft billing, he’s improved during his seven-year career. Among the 38 quarterbacks with at least 130 pass attempts in 2017, Gabbert ranks 22nd in yards per attempt, 26th in completion percentage, 28th in quarterback rating, and 31st in adjusted net yards per attempt.
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