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Carson Palmer says he expects to play next season

With the Cardinals officially eliminated from postseason contention, it's time to do some soul-searching in the desert, starting at the quarterback position.

Carson Palmer has notably regressed from last season's dynamite campaign, often looking flat-footed in the pocket, but he's not giving in to rumors that this is his last go-around.

Following Arizona's loss to the Saints on Sunday, Palmer told reporters that, while he hasn't thought about next season yet, he expects to play in 2017, per the team's website.

This is a no-brainer answer from a 13-year veteran who just recently signed a one-year, $24.4 million extension through 2018, alongside fellow graybeard Larry Fitzgerald. From his response, you can glean that Palmer expects to play through this contract, which includes next season.

Fitz was more coy on the issue.

When asked a similar question, the venerable wideout offered, "I will play those (last two) games as hard as I can ... and we will see what goes on this offseason."

All this begs the question: Will the Cardinals still want Palmer around come 2017?

As recent as one month ago, Palmer had the support of Bruce Arians, the man partially charged with deciding the quarterback's fate this offseason.

Of the quarterback's critics, Arians said at the time, "They're wrong on that one. ... Carson, he put a lot of trust in some guys that haven't come through for him." The coach was likely referring to, among other people, wide receivers Michael Floyd (who was jettisoned last week) and John Brown, embattled kicker Chandler Catanzaro and the entire offensive line.

With a burgeoning dual-threat back in the backfield (David Johnson) and stalwarts holding down the defense (Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson), the future remains bright in Glendale, and one could argue that their Super Bowl window hasn't closed just yet.

An offseason organizational decision on Palmer's next two seasons will signal whether the Cardinals are looking to go for Lombardi or settle for a rebuild in 2017. At least the Arizona brass knows Palmer's stance on the matter. 

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