GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For a team that would have killed for a quarterback just a few years ago, the Arizona Cardinals were practically swimming with them when they opened their three-day rookie mini-camp.
Not only did the Cardinals enter last week with three holdovers under contract -- starter Carson Palmer, backup Drew Stanton and third-stringer Zac Dysert -- but they also signed veteran free agent Blaine Gabbert and undrafted rookie free agent Trevor Knight (Texas A&M) while inviting undrafted rookie Antonio Pipken (Tiffin University) in for a tryout.
The moves bring to mind the 2015 playoffs, Arizona had to resort to starting a fourth-stringer -- Ryan Lindley -- in an NFC wild-card game against Carolina.
The Cardinals, who will start training camp a week earlier than usual because they playing in the Hall of Fame Game, seem prepared to keep at least five of the quarterbacks for now and will use all of them during offseason practices.
Palmer's role will be limited until June, according to coach Bruce Arians.
"He tosses some soft ones around in the blitz drills, but he doesn't need to be out there right now," Arians said.
Though Pipkin hasn't been signed, Arians liked some of the things he saw from both rookies.
"I was really impressed with Trevor and Antonio today," Arians said Friday after the first practice by rookies. "They had good velocity on the ball and accuracy."
Pipkin, who holds every passing record at Tiffin, might have actually thrown the ball too hard. His deep passes were just fine, but he drilled the ball to receivers on shorter routes.
"He's got to slow that thing down a little bit," Arians said. "Again, another good athlete. His velocity hurts his accuracy some. He's got to take a little bit off of it. He can't rely on the fastball all of the time."
Both Pipkin and Knight said they weren't troubled by Arizona's signing of Gabbert to a one-year deal worth $855,000.
"If you're always looking over your shoulder and worrying about a QB battle, you're not going to play as well as you want to," Knight said. "You've got to worry about yourself. As far as yourself and your own future, you have to put your head down and get to work."
As for signing Gabbert, Arians he's always liked the 6-foot-4 quarterback, who spent the past three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers after playing the previous three years for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"I had a very, very high grade on him (in the 2011 draft)," Arians said. "I thought he showed a lot being in the read option last year. ... When you look at the receivers he's played with -- I'm not knocking them in any way -- they can't touch ours.
"He would have never played with the kind of receivers he would have here. And he fits our system."