Kurt Warner Not the Long-Term Answer in Arizona

A BContributor IFebruary 27, 2009

Memo to the Arizona Cardinals: Let Kurt Warner walk.

Now many of you reading this, whether you are Cardinals fans or not, are probably shaking your heads. Before getting all hot and bothered and making a ridiculous post about how I am out of my mind and should never be allowed to write an article again, just hear me out.

I have been a non-supporter of Kurt Warner for a long time. I would, however, like to thank Warner for what he did in the postseason this year. Was he perfect? No, but he did give fans something they have never experienced. 

The Cardinals' victories brought tears to the eyes of many fans this year who had been waiting for a long time. They gave us hope.  Kurt Warner was a main part of that.

But now that the ride is over, let's get back to reality. Following are the facts you need to know about Kurt Warner if you are going to ride with him until the wheels fall off (which I promise you will be sometime before the end of the season, if he decides to come back).

He turns 38 this summer. Do you really think he can last two more full regular seasons? Sure, he did great throughout the playoffs and his experience helped greatly, but over the next two years as he gets older, the pass rushers blitzing him become younger and faster.

Also, his career regular season record is 57-44. Not stunning. At least not worth the $14-16 million he is expecting this year. Now, you may say he took a pitiful franchise to the Super Bowl, but let's be honest—the NFC West wasn't exactly the strongest division in football last year.

If it wasn't for that, the Arizona Cardinals probably wouldn't have made the playoffs, and you would have never heard of the "second wind."

Without Larry Fitzgerald, is Kurt Warner as special? That may be a harsh question to ask and I will admit it is a bit of a stretch, but only because anyone in the NFL is talented.  They all got there for a reason. All of the Warner supporters need to stop and think about this: Every time Kurt Warner made a "great" play, was it a good pass or was it an amazing catch by Larry Fitzgerald? 

There are only a few receivers in the history of the league that have had the capability of making plays like you have seen this year. I watched every Cardinals game and, more often than not, Larry Fitzgerald had to come back and make a play on an underthrown ball. Fitzgerald could have broken the touchdown and yards record if it wasn't for underthrown passes. Kurt Warner throws ducks, not darts.

When Fitzgerald wasn't making plays, the toughest receiver in the game, Anquan Boldin, was. You may not like his personality, but you can't deny is that the man is ferocious. You will not see a receiver run harder across the middle. You will not see a man run harder after he has the ball.

Warner is blessed with the greatest receiver tandem in NFL history.  If Kurt gets $12-16 million, Anquan Boldin will most likely not get the reconstructed contract he deserves. Would you rather take a chance that Warner will last for two years or keep Boldin for five years? It's simple.

Backup Matt Leinart is ready. Many so-called sports writers and analysts have been quick to call Leinart a bust, yet everyone was praising Leinart for his success in his rookie season. The next year, he had a slow start and broke his collarbone and didn't get a full season. Suddenly, he was a bust.

Leinart could have easily been given the job for starter this past season, but it was a toss up.  If you want a quarterback to succeed, you build him up. Very few quarterbacks have succeeded right out of the gates. Leinart has been on the bench learning a lot from a veteran quarterback. 

The Cardinals have not given Leinart a chance to lose yet. Just like Lovie Smith did with Rex Grossman in Chicago, Arizona needs to let Leinart play. Let him know that no matter what, this season is his and, even if he folds, he is staying in. You have to give him a full chance to prove himself, not a few preseason games, not half a season, not a fourth quarter. 

Matt Leinart will be a good quarterback for someone. Kurt Warner has proved again that he can only succeed with two or three dominant receivers.

Give Matt the chance. Give Boldin his money. Let Warner walk, and sign yourself a top free agent. It's the best choice for the future.