Could Cardinals be chasing Carson Palmer’s successor?

Arizona Cardinals head coach doesn’t seem as down on this class of quarterbacks as others.

“I see, so far, five to six really good arms,” Arians said Wednesday. “Guys with good stature and my job is to find out more and more about them. Starting here, I don’t put as much stock in them throwing at the combine as I do their tape. They’re throwing routes they may not have thrown and to (new receivers). If they do throw well, that’s a blessing. I’m just getting to know them.”

Reporters asked Arians about the position in broad strokes during his combine interview because he’s an insightful coach with an encyclopedic knowledge of quarterback play, but it was interesting to hear him discuss his personal selection process. While is coming back for the 2017 season, there always exists a chance that Arians will want to have Palmer’s replacement waiting on the bench. Palmer, 37, nearly walked away from the game this offseason.

General manager said Wednesday that if he were to draft a young quarterback, it would be valuable to do so with Palmer still on the roster.

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Nike Cardinals #43 Haason Reddick Black Men's Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey“It’s a double-edged sword,” Arians said. “We want to win now because we feel like we have that window but we also have to take care of the future. If that guy is available for us — the ones we’ve liked haven’t been available. They’ve always gotten snatched when we’ve liked to have them. If he’s there and he’s the guy we want, I think we’ll pull the trigger.”

Arians riffed on his process when asked about how team success factors in to his evaluation of a quarterback.

“You have to see if they’re the reason for the team success. Or, do they have a great defense and he’s just a game manager. You look at every aspect of the quarterback. Mental aspect. Heart and head — they’re the hardest to evaluate. I can see his arm strength, I can see his speed and I can see him jump, but the two things he plays with — his brain and his heart — they’re really hard to evaluate. That’s the process that starts now.”

The announced Tuesday that they reached an agreement on a four-year contract with the impending free-agent tight end.

The Cards prioritized locking down the 6-foot-5 receiving target ahead of the new league year opening on Thursday.

Gresham spent the past two seasons in Bruce Arians’ offense, compiling a modest 55 catches for 614 yards and three TDs. He did come on stronger as an outlet for Carson Palmer down the stretch last season as Arizona’s receiver corps dealt with injuries. Twenty of Gresham’s 37 catches came between Week 12 and Week 16 last season.

The star dual-threat Cardinals running back saw his dominant 2016 season end in scary fashion when he suffered a sprained MCL in Week 17, leaving D.J. just one game away from reaching at least 100 scrimmage yards in all 16 contests.

But Johnson said his recovery is on schedule and has him ready to play today.

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“My wheel is good,” Johnson told the team’s website while attending the Kurt Warner Ultimate Football Experience on Saturday. “Good to go already. Back training, full throttle. Doing everything.”

Any and all positive updates on Johnson’s health this offseason should be celebrated in the desert. The Cardinals offense, one year removed from its high-octane downfield identity, shifted its focus in ’16 and instead depended on Johnson’s backfield production. The back not only paced Arizona to its underwhelming 7-8-1 record, he led the league in yards from scrimmage (2,118 yards).

Safe to say, if he were to have a setback ahead of training camp, Arizona’s plans for 2017 would change dramatically.

As Carson Palmer and age and waffle between return and retirement year after year, the Cardinals know they have a sure thing in Johnson, as long as he gets and stays healthy. For now, Johnson appears ready to return to form, and that’s all the Cardinals can ask for.