When Matt Leinart said he wanted to stay in Arizona because it was his best chance to play in 2010, it was part of a high stakes game of chicken with the Cardinals. He was essentially daring Arizona to keep him.
Lost in the negotiating ploy was the fact Arizona did present Leinart his best chance to play and ultimately his best earning potential for 2010.
Word comes from John McClain of the Houston Chronicle that Leinart is only slated to make $600,000 in 2010, with a maximum of $1 million if he reaches incentives.
It’s interesting to note that those incentives are tied to his spot on the depth chart, not whether he plays. Leinart gets $23,125 for each game he’s designated the team’s backup, rather than the inactive No. 3 quarterback.
Even if Leinart was the backup all 16 weeks — which won’t happen — the salary must be humbling for him. It’s a huge reduction from the $2.5 million he was slated to make in Arizona, and less than half of what Texans backup Dan Orlovsky will make.
Leinart didn’t want to be a backup at his new location, and he won’t be. Yet. He’s now a No. 3 quarterback and has the salary to match.
It’s up to him whether this marks a career low point or a preview for his next five years.