For a generation of sports fans, the National Football League is quietly surpassing Major League Baseball as America's new pastime.
As baseball's hot-stove cools, the competition in the Cactus and Grapefruit league heats up, and the World Baseball Classic gets underway, the NFL's 2009 free-agent signing period is in full swing.
Now, it's time to discuss those top four 2009 free-agents who have yet to sign a deal.
The list is exhaustive, but that doesn't mean we can breakdown some of more notable names, especially those coming off rather impressive 2009 campaigns.
So, let's get started.
The first on our list has to be Kurt Warner.
While he didn't earn comeback player of the year as that went to Chad Pennington, Warner did something big bad Chad will likely never accomplish: He led his team, the Arizona Cardinals, the Super Bowl for the first time in the organizations' horrid history.
As a former MVP, two-time Super Bowl loser, and one-time Super Bowl winner, Warner fits right in with the Cardinal's electric passing arsenal attack. With the three-headed monster attack of Steve Breston, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin who all may have been more responsible for the Cardinals success this season in earning them a trip to the playoffs for the first time a long time, then an aging quarterback who simply played pass-and-catch much like he did in St. Louis with the greatest show on turf.
Still Warner played up to the level of one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL this season, which is why he's demanding the Cardinals show him the money.
Warner passed for more than 4,500 yards, threw for 30 touchdowns and was only intercepted 14 times. And for the venerable measure of a QB, Warner's passer rating was a respectable 96.9 and his best since the 2001 season when he led the Rams to a Super Bowl victory.
Both Warner and the Cardinals avoided contract negotiations all season long, and as we enter the heart of the off-season, will the Cardinals play Warner the money he deserves for last season or will they opt for the less experienced, but still highly paid franchise QB in Matt Leinart.
Warner rejuvenated his career in Arizona, which is why I think the Cardinals owe to him to pay him top QB money. If not, he may head to grungier pastures of Detroit in an effort to resurrect another dying franchise.