Cardinals' talk of trade for a QB increases as free agency, draft get closer

TEMPE, Ariz. -- When it comes to the Arizona Cardinals being aggressive in their search for a quarterback this offseason, one word has been coming up more and more often: trade.

Coach Steve Wilks began referring to the possibility of trading for a quarterback a couple of weeks ago but added more depth to the idea at last week's NFL combine.

"When free agency starts, we're going to try to get the best [quarterback]," Wilks said. "Not only have a Plan A, but a Plan B and a Plan C. You also have to look at trades. And then, there's the draft. We're sitting at 15. Do we feel there is a guy we have to move up for? All those things come into play when I talk about being aggressive, not sitting back."

Wilks has alluded to the draft being essential to finding the franchise's next quarterback, using the phrase "most importantly" when describing the draft's significance in the Cardinals' signal-caller search. Depending on how the Cardinals anticipate the beginning of the first round unfolding, a trade up might be the only way they can land one of the top quarterbacks in this year's class.

And trading up has become a more popular topic among general manager Steve Keim and Wilks recently. They pick 15th in the first round and have seven draft picks overall, giving them enough ammunition to pull off a deal and not hurt the rest of their draft plans.

The Cardinals acquired their last starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, who announced his retirement in January, through a trade with the Oakland Raiders in 2013. That took place in April -- after free agency but before the draft. Wilks and Keim have made it a priority to be on the same page when addressing the draft, so both have been talking about the possibility of a trade.

But when it comes to being aggressive in finding a quarterback, Keim said the Cardinals don't have any other choice.

"When you don't have one, there is no other way," Keim said. "We will have plans in place for free agency, but, again, a trade option potentially, and the draft, it's all three because we don't have any on the roster currently.

"Whether we are going to keep two or three, we're going to have to have someone that's experienced, and you'd like to be able to take a young guy and develop him."