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The list of Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks who have taken snaps throughout franchise history isn’t a particularly inspiring one even if the man sitting atop the pack put together a sterling career — albeit for multiple NFL organizations. From there, the drop-off can only be classified as drastic.

In fact, dating back to 1950, when Curly Lambeau coached the Chicago-based Cardinals, the squad has produced only 13 Pro Bowl seasons at the quarterback position, and those honors went to just eight different signal-callers. On average, that’s about one nod every six campaigns.

That does give Kyler Murray a chance to move up the rankings as his career progresses — assuming he remains with the Cardinals, which is far from guaranteed after a tumultuous period followed his early success. It also means the franchise leaderboard is checkered with more misses than hits.

Using the Total Yards Added (TYA) metric I developed for QB Math, which evaluates quarterbacks’ success relative to league average in four facets of the game — rushing, passing, sack avoidance, and fumble avoidance — we’re highlighting each and every one of the 79 Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks with at least one qualified game for the organization since 1950. These rankings of career production will be updated continuously and are accurate heading into Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season.

Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks Nos. 79-11

Franchise RankQuarterbackQualified GamesTotal Yards Added
79Jake Plummer86-2,244.166
78John Skelton20-1,320.234
77Josh Rosen14-1,207.344
76Ryan Lindley10-1,195.589
75Lamar McHan58-1,069.786
74Josh McCown30-1,019.05
73King Hill15-739.998
72Tom Tupa16-618.571
71Drew Stanton17-582.554
70Terry Nofsinger7-527.978
69Timm Rosenbach23-512.915
68Stan Gelbaugh5-502.646
67Dave Brown12-494.093
66Blaine Gabbert5-456.604
65Derek Anderson11-434.131
64Cliff Stoudt8-427.299
63Gary Hogeboom14-422.347
62Sam Etcheverry16-412.451
61Max Hall4-403.755
60Jim Hardy18-394.308
59Trace McSorley5-378.222
58Gary Cuozzo8-363.818
57Matt Leinart25-337.008
56Sam Bradford3-329.22
55Kevin Kolb14-325.184
54Colt McCoy8-317.351
53Ray Nagel4-313.586
52Tim Van Galder4-307.123
51Rusty Lisch2-292.265
50Steve Romanik11-292.125
49John Roach16-276.338
48John Navarre2-253.27
47Jeff Blake13-247.065
46Gary Keithley4-246.026
45Scott Brunner4-244.68
44Charley Trippi22-243.96
43Steve Pisarkiewicz7-230.469
42Chris Chandler22-222.348
41Shaun King3-221.922
40Dave Krieg16-216.036
39Ogden Compton6-197.1
38Don Panciera5-196.803
37Mike Loyd2-159.934
36Ted Marchibroda4-155.618
35Buddy Humphrey6-155.137
34Jim Root17-149.663
33Richard Bartel3-147.106
32Jim McMahon2-141.834
31Pete Beathard10-123.595
30Chris Streveler2-121.775
29Stoney Case2-115.067
28Tim Rattay1-112.037
27Brian Hoyer2-110.593
26Paul Larson3-82.275
25Jay Schroeder9-81.883
24Shawn Halloran2-81.222
23Steve Beuerlein23-78.869
22Kent Graham17-62.422
21David Blough2-61.236
20Tony Sacca1-60.085
19Craig Kupp1-46.018
18Chris Greisen2-26.459
17Brett Hundley1-18.111
16George Izo2-11.093
15Sammy Garza1-5.862
14Joshua Dobbs21.848
13Ralph Guglielmi830.909
12Logan Thomas131.193
11Kyler Murray5735.517

Keep in mind that this is about career production.

Playing in more games usually means moving further away from the league-average score of zero, which is why Jake Plummer — objectively not the least-talented of the Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks — falls all the way to the bottom of the pack despite having a per-game output far superior to other low finishers such as John Skelton, Josh Rosen, and Ryan Lindley.

10. Mike Glennon

  • Years: 2018
  • Stats: 0-0 record, 15-of-21 (71.4%) for 174 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 52.695

If you needed further evidence of the bleakness of the history of Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks, look no further than Mike Glennon sneaking into the top 10 based on two relief appearances. The backup replaced Josh Rosen in Weeks 14 and 15 of the 2018 season, and he at least performed respectably enough to avoid turnovers and throw a garbage-time touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield.

9. Frank Tripucka

  • Years: 1950-52
  • Stats: 3-3 record, 69-of-149 (46.3%), 1,004 yards, 6 TD, 8 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 66.0

Frank Tripucka played in a drastically different era, back when the running game was the obvious focus of every offense throughout the NFL. Since TYA compares a quarterback’s production to the league-average figures during the season in question, the expected baseline was far lower during the early ’50s. Even still, he didn’t exactly push the Chicago Cardinals into contention.

8. Boomer Esiason

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Boomer Esiason | Stephen Dunn/Allsport
  • Years: 1996
  • Stats: 3-5 record, 190-of-339 (56.0%), 2,293 yards, 11 TD, 14 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 87.729

Though Boomer Esiason enjoyed a fantastic career for the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets, he wasn’t the same player when he finally became a quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.

He started eight games during his age-35 season in 1996, competing with Kent Graham for playing time, and didn’t do much of note — either good or bad. In fact, he only posted two games with three touchdown strikes, and one of those also featured four interceptions in a 37-34 shootout victory.

7. Mike Buck

  • Years: 1995
  • Stats: 0-0 record, 20-of-32 (62.5%), 271 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 129.129

One year before Boomer Esiason took the reins, Mike Buck backed up Dave Krieg and made four respectable appearances off the pine. Averaging 8.5 yards per passing attempt kept the chains moving even if he could only tally a lone touchdown on a garbage-time pass to Rob Moore that closed the gap to 31-19 in a blowout home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

6. M.C. Reynolds

  • Years: 1958-59
  • Stats: 1-5 record, 124-of-234 (53.0%), 1,751 yards, 15 TD, 12 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 211.057

The good news: M.C. Reynolds threw more touchdowns than interceptions during an era in which that was by no means a guarantee even for some of the league’s better quarterbacks.

The bad news: A quarterback who posted a 1-5 record in his six starts for the franchise checks in at No. 6 due to a dearth of standout options.

5. Charley Johnson

St. Louis Cardinals quarterback Charley Johnson | Diamond Images/Getty Images
  • Years: 1961-69
  • Stats: 36-28-5 record, 1,030-of-2,047 (50.3%), 14,928 yards, 108 TD, 110 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 360.339

At long last, the countdown of Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks churns out someone who spent multiple years in a significant role. Charley Johnson logged five consecutive seasons as the primary starter back when the franchise was located in St. Louis, and he consistently held his own. Sometimes, he was even better, too.

During the 1963 campaign, Johnson went 9-5 under center, led the NFL with 423 passing attempts, threw 28 touchdowns, and made the only Pro Bowl appearance of his career. Though he didn’t receive any notable accolades during the follow-up campaign, he again won nine games while pacing the league in completions (223), attempts (420), passing yards (3,045), and — unfortunately for his repeat Pro Bowl chances — interceptions (24).

4. Jim Hart

  • Years: 1966-83
  • Stats: 87-88-5 record, 2,590-of-5,069 (51.1%), 34,639 yards, 209 TD, 247 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 552.962

Before taking his talents to the nation’s capital as a 40-year-old in 1984, Jim Hart spent a whopping 18 seasons suiting up for the St. Louis Cardinals, who picked him up after he’d finished his collegiate career at Southern Illinois.

Hart made four consecutive Pro Bowl appearances during the mid-’70s, submitting a stretch in which he went 38-18 while throwing 70 touchdown passes. He also led the NFL in fourth-quarter comebacks during three separate seasons and successfully completed 23 game-winning drives throughout his memorable tenure.

3. Carson Palmer

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer | Norm Hall/Getty Images
  • Years: 2013-17
  • Stats: 38-21-1 record, 1,373-of-2,197 (62.5%), 16,782 yards, 105 TD, 57 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 742.587

Jim Hart stands at least a tier above Charley Johnson, and the leaps continue as we move into the podium spots.

Carson Palmer, though he made just one Pro Bowl roster for the Arizona Cardinals after spending his prime years with the Cincinnati Bengals, found so much success during the 2015 campaign that his time in the desert won’t be lost to fading memories anytime soon. In fact, that was essentially all it took for him to have his No. 3 jersey join the franchise’s Ring of Honor.

Steering his squad to a 13-3 record, Palmer tossed 35 scores through the air, only threw 11 interceptions, and led the NFL in a number of advanced metrics en route to a second-place finish in AP MVP voting, behind only Cam Newton. The rest of his five-year tenure in Arizona was far more forgettable, but that campaign alone does a lot of heavy lifting in these rankings.

2. Neil Lomax

  • Years: 1981-88
  • Stats: 47-52-2 record, 1,817-of-3,153 (57.6%), 136 TD, 90 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 1,586.444

Neil Lomax spent his entire eight-year NFL career with the Cardinals, even making the transition from St. Louis to Phoenix for his final season in 1988. And a memorable career it was, highlighted by two Pro Bowl appearances (including a passing-yardage title in 1987) and a playoff appearance in 1982.

Therein lies the rub.

Lomax put up plenty of laudable statistics once he wrestled the starting job away from Jim Hart, but the 1981 second-round pick had trouble translating that into many victories. He had a losing record for his career and was sacked far too frequently, though it’s hard to pin too much of the blame on him considering the perpetual limitations of his offensive line and supporting cast.

1. Kurt Warner

Related Kurt Warner Retired From the NFL at 38 but Almost Returned to the Arizona Cardinals as a 43-Year-Old

Kurt Warner Retired From the NFL at 38 but Almost Returned to the Arizona Cardinals as a 43-Year-Old

  • Years: 2005-09
  • Stats: 27-30 record, 1,371-of-2,105 (65.1%), 15,843 yards, 100 TD, 59 INT
  • Total Yards Added: 2,616.643

Kurt Warner spent the final five seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Arizona Cardinals, rebounding from injuries to produce prolific passing numbers in his late-30s. Even though he was under center for just five seasons, he sits at No. 5 on the franchise leaderboard for career passing touchdowns and passing yards — at least until Kyler Murray likely moves past him in both categories.

His 2008 efforts will go down in the archives as one of the best seasons in franchise NFL history as he won nine games while throwing for 4,583 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Warner was a statuesque pocket passer throughout his playing days — even more true at the tail end — but that didn’t prevent him from using his tremendous arm strength to move the ball down the field in chunks.

Had that ’08 effort ended with a Super Bowl victory instead of a devastating defeat as Ben Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes for the go-ahead touchdown with just 35 seconds remaining, the legend of Arizona-era Warner would only be more significant.