Signing with Cardinals gives Blaine Gabbert chance to show true skills

In six NFL seasons, Blaine Gabbert -- the No. 10 overall pick in 2011 -- has 38 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

TEMPE, Ariz. -- And then there were five.

With ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter’s report Wednesday afternoon that the Arizona Cardinals will sign Blaine Gabbert to a one-year deal, Arizona now has five quarterbacks on its roster. That’s about two too many.

With neither Carson Palmer nor Drew Stanton going anywhere, the battle for the third quarterback spot will begin Friday, when undrafted free agent Trevor Knight attends rookie minicamp. On Tuesday, the four veterans will report for the official start of organized team activities, kicking off what could be a four-month competition that also includes Zac Dysert.

But Gabbert will have the most to gain over the course of OTAs and minicamp this spring.

He has been on the market since early March, when free agency kicked off, and he’s coming off a season in which he was demoted from being San Francisco’s starter after a Week 5 loss to the Cardinals. He was benched until Week 13.

Gabbert, who at 6-foot-4 has the stature of a Bruce Arians-style quarterback, has an opportunity most signal-callers who toiled on subpar teams can only imagine. His six NFL seasons have been spent in Jacksonville and San Francisco (when those teams weren’t winning); he’ll join a Cardinals offense that has a future Hall of Fame wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald and a future All-Pro running back in David Johnson. That’s without mentioning John Brown, J.J. Nelson, Jaron Brown and rookie Chad Williams.

Gabbert has never played with an offense this talented, which makes the Cardinals’ flier on the 27-year-old the ultimate test -- for Gabbert, not the Cards. If Gabbert struggles, it’s proof that it’s him, not the system or the talent around him. If he flourishes, it’ll be another example of a good quarterback having plodded along in the deep mud of bad teams.

Having a quarterbacks room of Palmer, Stanton and Gabbert is respectable. It’s also possible the Cardinals could go with two quarterbacks on the active roster and one on the practice squad.

But Gabbert has a chance in Arizona to show what kind of quarterback he truly is.