McCoy, the Cardinals' presumed starter for much of the offseason with Kyler Murray still recovering, was released on Monday. That leaves two options for Arizona, barring a transaction: rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Tune, or Joshua Dobbs, who was acquired in a trade late last week. Dobbs has two career starts. Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said he would not name a starter before the season.
The Cardinals' spread for Week 1 has moved in the past few days, albeit slightly. They were 6-point underdogs at the Washington Commanders the past few weeks. That line has been going back and forth between +6 and +7 the past few days, with the realization sinking in that the Cardinals don't really have a quarterback. The line is currently Cardinals +7 at BetMGM.
It seems hard to believe it'll shift to less than +7 again. There won't be many bettors excited to take the Cardinals.
Cardinals favored for fewest wins
The Cardinals are the clear favorite to have the worst record in the NFL. They're +220 for that dubious honor. Next in the odds is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +700. The Houston Texans are next at +850. A reminder: The Cardinals have their own 2024 first-round pick and the Texans' pick too.
The Cardinals might not need the Texans' pick to win the Caleb Williams sweepstakes (if he wants to declare early). They might earn it on their own.
Arizona was already looking rough coming into the season. The Cardinals' win total at most sportsbooks is 4.5. It's really hard to take an under on a total that low, but it's also tough to put your money on the Cardinals winning five games. The defense is very thin. The offense will be run by the worst starting quarterback in football, no matter who the Cardinals pick, until Murray returns. All of this is being overseen by Jonathan Gannon, a rookie head coach.
It's going to be a long season in Arizona. The only question is whether the Cardinals are bad enough to have the worst record, and therefore the No. 1 overall pick of the draft, and if they can crawl across the 4.5-win threshold.
Cardinals have uncertainty at QB
Whoever is named the Cardinals' starter at QB, he might keep that job for a while. If Arizona is as bad as expected, there won't be a reason for Murray to rush back. McCoy could have at least brought a veteran presence to the lineup. The Cardinals' remaining choices have two combined NFL starts.
Here are the candidates:
Tune: Tune was a productive college quarterback, which is why he got drafted. He threw for 104 touchdowns over five seasons at Houston. But he was still just a fifth-round pick. He put up an uninspiring 73.6 passer rating in the preseason. It's hard to imagine Tune having a lot of immediate success.
Dobbs: Dobbs was an unlikely story last season, but he did play fairly well. The Tennessee Titans were desperate for a starter late in the season with Malik Willis struggling, so they started Dobbs eight days after signing him off the Detroit Lions' practice squad. The Titans lost both games Dobbs started, but he was reasonable. Still, he has 85 career passes, just came over from the Cleveland Browns in a trade last week and his NFL resume is basically putting up a 73.8 passer rating over two starts last season. He seems to be the better option, but he's not a good option.
The Cardinals are not going to be good this season. How bad will they be? It might not be pretty, especially early in the season.