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Cardinals trying to find answers at QB

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Trading for 49ers quarterback Alex Smith wasn't the Cardinals only option in their quest to upgrade their quarterback position this offseason.

But it was one of them, and of course they are expected to strongly consider the cream of a lightly regarded crop with their first-round pick. Whether Matt Barkley of Southern California or Geno Smith (West Virginia) are worthy of the seventh overall selection is an ongoing debate at Cardinals' headquarters.

They're still trying to recover from past poor investments that must be settled before they can stack a depth chart in 2013.

The Cardinals were, at the least, interested in what it might have taken to acquire Smith. But they weren't going to come close to the price the Chiefs are going to pay.

A second-round pick in 2013 and a second- or third-round pick in 2014 was too high of price for the Cardinals. Less than two years ago, they traded a former Pro Bowl cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in 2012 to the Eagles for Kevin Kolb.

That trade has yet to provide positive results for the Cardinals, although Kolb could become the starter again in 2013.

First, the Cardinals will ask him to take a pay cut from the $11 million he's due to make. That's in the form of a $2 million signing bonus if he's on the roster on March 17 and a $9 million salary.

Negotiations between the two sides are not believed to have started, but the Cardinals, at some point, will make the call to Kolb's agent.

Kolb could decline to take a pay cut, gambling that he can find a starting opportunity elsewhere. But one avenue open to him, in Kansas City, is now closed.

He played four seasons in Philadelphia for Chiefs coach Andy Reid, so there was a natural connection there.

The Cardinals have declined to detail their plan at quarterback, but they say they have one.

The plan, likely, won't involve taking just one path to finding a starter, but, rather, pursuing multiple options.

That could include bringing back some combination of Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer, as well as selecting someone high in the draft.

New coach Bruce Arians is expected to flood the position with players, giving himself more than one option for 2013.

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