The Cardinals would like to get something, anything in return for 2006 first-round pick Matt Leinart. And by all appearances the Cardinals don’t want to cut him loose, since doing so would likely result in Leinart making a beeline for Pete Carroll and his Seahawks.
So with the Cardinals expressly giving Leinart permission to seek his own trade and Leinart opting not to do so because he thinks staying put is his best chance of starting in 2010, coach Ken Whisenhunt has taken things up a notch.
Per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, Whisenhunt summarized the key question on Friday: “[C]an he survive in the role as a No. 2 on this
team? And that’s really what the decision is about.”
On the surface, it’s an unusual question, given that Leinart has survived in that role for the last two seasons behind Kurt Warner. But Derek Anderson is a far cry from Kurt Warner, and the fact that Leinart can’t beat out a guy who flamed out as the Browns’ starter surely makes it much harder for Leinart to accept his role.
The fact that he thinks staying in Arizona gives him the best chance to start proves it.
Either way, the only way the Cardinals will keep Leinart is if they decide to carry four quarterbacks. Rookies Max Hall and John Skelton have looked good so far, and the Cardinals likely wouldn’t be able to sneak one of them through to the practice squad. And given the franchise’s historical luck, the guy they’d cut would end up being the next Kurt Warner, and the guy they keep would end up being the next Matt Leinart.
For now, we’re sticking with our prediction that the Cardinals will cut Leinart and that he’ll sign with the Seahawks within hours thereafter.