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Carson Palmer, Colt McCoy signings showcase NFC West

The entire NFC West was under .500 back in 2010, the most embarrassing moment after nearly a decade of being the NFL's worst division.

This being the NFL, it hasn't taken long to go from worst to first. The NFC West isn't just the best division in football now; it's the most interesting. This offseason has only cemented that.

Tuesday's acquisition of Carson Palmer by the Arizona Cardinals isn't going to save the franchise, but it adds a much-needed shot of competency to the most important position on the field. Arians probably convinced Palmer that the Cardinals aren't as far away from contending as you'd think. They have Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and last year's first-round draft pick at wide receiver in Michael Floyd. Tight end Rob Housler is an underrated talent.

If the Cardinals add a top-shelf offensive tackle with the No. 7 overall pick in 2013 NFL Draft, the offense might not be awful. The defense has a lot of talent. Still, this is a team that seems destined for the basement.

The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers seemingly have been in an arms race. (The latest move: The 49ers picked up their backup quarterback in Colt McCoy and agreed to a deal with Nnamdi Asomugha. The Seahawks started shopping for their backup quarterback after trading Matt Flynn to the Oakland Raiders.)

The St. Louis Rams lost just one game in the division last year (and eight overall) before adding big-ticket offensive tackle Jake Long this offseason. The division was off the radar for so long with no identity, but the identity is clear now: Young quarterbacks (other than Palmer) and frightening defenses.

The Seahawks loaded up on pass-rushers by adding Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. The 49ers' linebacker group is the best in football. The Rams have playmakers on every level of the defense, especially the defensive line.

As projected last-place teams go, the Cardinals will be dangerous. They are more dangerous with Palmer. The move was just another continuation of one of this offseason's biggest themes: The NFC West suddenly is the most fascinating division in football.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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