Draw The Cards

By PFC Cardinals Writer Kelley Smelser

I’ve checked the stats and scream my support of Matt Leinert as the most prepared NFL Quarter Back in history.  I have him graded as an elite QB even with Kurt Warner at 90 after Kurt’s decline from a 93 this year. Matt has a better chance at the Pro Bowl next year than Kurt did this year! Not only did Kurt decline in status but in stats meaning single year performance compared to career, no pro bowl, no MVP talk! Kurt had individual game records that were out of this world, but not top 10 in stats and none of his boys were top 10 either! I set aside the emotion and sooth the truth. That said I would be happy to have Kurt return anytime any place because what He loses in ability he makes up for in experience. He left with something left in the tank but Kurt was on the decline as evidenced by the stats, pro bowl, MVP silence, and the position the Cardinals finished compared to last year.


• The second quarterback taken in the 2006 NFL Draft (Titans, Vince Young, 3rd overall), selected by the Cardinals with the 10th overall pick.
• Took over the starting QB spot in week 5 of his rookie campaign and started the next 11 games; missed the season finale at San Diego after injuring his left shoulder in game 15.
• In his second NFL season in 2007, started the first five games before suffering a season-ending collarbone injury at St. Louis (10/7).
• Threw for 200 yards or more in eight of his first 11 starts in 2006; completed 60% or more of his passes in five of his final six starts.
• In 2006, became the first Cardinals QB since Jake Plummer in 2001 to have three games in a season with a 100+ QB rating (all were in his final six starts of ’06).
• Became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for over 400 yards in a game when he passed for 405 at Minnesota on 11/26/06. The previous league record belonged to Plummer who threw for 388 yards against the New York Giants on 11/16/97.
• Leinart’s 2,547 yards passing in 2006 also broke Plummer’s franchise rookie record of 2,203 yards, set in 1997.
• Became first QB in NFL history to throw two TD passes in the first quarter of each of his first two games when he did it vs. Kansas City and Chicago.
• Recorded a 37-2 record as a starter at USC, a 94.8% winning percentage.
• Led U.S.C. to National Championships in 2003 and 2004, becoming only the third quarterback in the last 30 years to lead his team to back-to-back National Championships.
• Holds the USC and Pac-10 record for career TD passes with 99, shattering the previous school record of 72 set by Carson Palmer and the conference record of 77 set by Stanford’s John Elway.


Darren Urban on the Cardinals website posted:

“I believe in Matt Leinart,” general manager Rod Graves said. “I think he’s going to answer a lot of questions that have been out there for him.”

Whisenhunt continues to say he is “excited” in what Leinart can become and believes learning behind Warner has helped. The Cardinals will adjust the offense to be better suited to Leinart’s strengths – as opposed to Warner’s – and that should help. The Cards will sign a veteran in the offseason and likely draft a rookie at the position, but it will be interesting to see Leinart have an opportunity without Warner in the way.

Matt has different skill sets but the overall talent grades even out. 6’5″ 232 Pro style offense  with 4 NCAA Championships experience, the best college QB of all time overall. He set rookie NFL records in production. I’m sick of Media saying he hasn’t had a big enough sample of NFL play and is an unknown. It’s not true He has, and has NFL experiences success and challenges that many hall of fame QB’s will never have to face. Monday night Meltdown! Beating out all world QB KW for the starting job in 07 in a fair competition for coach Whiz! (Stafford, Cutler, VY, Sanchez whomever else never experienced that) accepted his backup role and behind Palmer at SC and KW on the Cardinals as a team first player.

He has been on a team that clawed their way through the playoffs to lose in a SB. and then lose in the divisional round this year. Maybe not on another team but on this team with this talent, coaching and experience, Matt will be a top 10 NFL QB next year and improve from there for the next 10 years. He is the most prepared NFL QB in history and a franchise talent with a Franchise RB in The Bean and franchise WR’s in Fitz and Q!
When part of the playbook closes with Kurt gone, several chapters will open back up with Matt starting. There is more than 1 way to skin a cardinal

The Cardinals may look to re-sign Matt now, unless they would rather pay Matt $120 million for 6 years next year before the owners strike? Directly after Drew Brees and Peyton signs new deals? There comes a time as a GM and an owner that you must pick your shots and there is always risk involved. Matt has a contract that will force us to the table after next year. I’ve laid out my reasoning and think Matt, Fitz and The Bean are a great triplets for a long, long time, protect them like Indy and NY protect the Manning’s or Matt will move on to the new LA Leinerts expansion team( new CBA is always time of expansion) after next year and we will be stuck with St Pierre, Pennington or over the hill Mcnabb and a broken Matt H.! Prepare for the worse!

Matt held out and received better than top 5 money, as a rookie with the QB incentives as a #10 draft pick! NFL teams are not tossing Matt on the heap, or this team, just some fans and media if anything other teams are adding fuel to our fire hoping to get him on the cheap. Matt is the highest paid Cardinal right now and was before and we have a lot invested in him. Take the next step now if you can. Matt may want to wait until next year an opt for a kinder fan base and more money! He has done nothing to deserve this treatment, nothing! He was rookie comparing him to a 12 year 3 MVP SB winner all world HOF QB. He is only 1 Super Bowl win away from tying both Manning’s and Kurt Warner on this day- 2/5/2010! You would think it was the anti christ by some media. He is a treasure to be cherished not trash to be tossed. We have a talented team and the playoffs are probable and SB is very possible next year. Then that top NFL QB contract of $100 million would be cheap, look at Albert Haynesworth, Eli, Peyton and Drew Brees, the uncapped year, CBA and several Cardinals that want to leave for more money! Matt is the priority this year, next year if you can see past your hands.

I’ll take Matt Leinert any day of the week and twice on Sundays. If anything I would like to see Matt signed to a long term deal prior to him doubling his price next year. 6 year 100 million sounds about right to me. Bidwill’s habit is to see the performance and sign to the highest contract in NFL history via Jake Plummer. KW got paid after a top performance but Bill was right not get crazy considering Kurt retired this year, He had 5 mill a year + 3 ear marked 1/2 million incentive bonuses for a max of 6.5 mill for 3 years, and then 1 year at 11.5 million and left 11.5 mill on the table when he retired.

Matt will earn top QB money next year and we will have to pay more than Peyton, Eli and Brees with an owner strike in 2011, Bill Bidwill writes the checks and has forgot more about the NFL with the Cardinals for 7 decades than most will ever know. The cursed championship, million $ backfield, decades of drought, players playing for pennies, forgotten teams, leagues and collective bargaining agreements in tow. He lives by the Cardinal virtues and has tripled his wealth in the last 10 years after buying out his brother in what 72? Patience, fortitude, temperance, loyalty  and  you don’t push Billy round Billy won’t Budge!

5 billion a year total TV contracts to be shared by 32 teams. The owner’s first offer is 41% to the players that include merchandising. The difference being that NFL teams have maxed out their teams assessed value at 1 Billion and with their value it is a matter of inches not yards in this economy for the 6 years of this new CBA to come. taxes are rising and the players union golden era is all but over. The owners are going on strike unless the players give up something, or the owners would have just accepted the options at the end of this CBA.

I expect in the end 50/50 down the middle with players having more control over their personal endorsements, when they play well and act right, they earn more from their public. The loss of 10% will probably be able to mixed into the retirement and ex player benefit pool that the Owners carry the lion share of now. It is in the Cardinals best interest to sign Matt Leinart long term and have him place in the aftermath when Mcnabb and Matt H are retired! I’m making a short story long and all but I call em as I see em.