If Kurt Warner retires as expected, the biggest question to be answered in the Cardinals' offseason is what will happen at the quarterback position?
Matt Leinart is the obvious choice to step into Warner's shoes and have a go at leading the team. The organization has invested many millions and four years into this former first round draft pick, and despite the valid concerns about his arm strength and overall effectiveness he will begin the 2010 season with more knowledge of the Cardinals offense than any other quarterback should Warner follow through with retirement.
Since Leinart has more going for him than any quarterback currently outside of the organization, it is his job to lose. However, with only one inexperienced QB behind him in Brian St. Pierre—a career backup who is not a lock to return to the team next season—it is logical to think that the Cardinals will bring in at least one other QB either through the draft or free agency to compete for a roster spot.
It is not a stretch to imagine if that player is impressive enough they could wrestle the starting job away from Leinart, but at the very least the team will need depth in case Leinart gets injured or cannot get the job done. Where will that player come from?
You'd have to think the team would add at least one college QB through this year's draft. If there is one thing that we have learned about head coach Ken Whisenhunt, GM Rod Graves and the scouting department of the Cardinals is that they have an eye for unearthing talent at all levels, and are not afraid to draft small school players that are mostly off the radar otherwise.
This is the same team that drafted Tim Hightower in the fifth round in 2008 from the University of Richmond and Greg Toler in the fourth in 2009 from tiny Saint Paul's College, both players from small schools that were not invited to the annual scouting combine.
Hightower has been a starter and has already proven he belongs in this league, and Toler ended his rookie season by outplaying starter Bryant McFadden in the season finale, setting himself up nicely for future success.
Based on that the Cardinals could like what they see from any of the big names coming out of college like Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow or Tony Pike, or they could surprise and dig up a virtual unknown.
There are so many variables with the draft that I will not delve into specific players, though it goes without saying that there are a tremendous amount of possibilities.
Another possibility is that Arizona will look to add a proven veteran or a promising young QB via trade or free agency. Keep in mind some of these are more legitimate options than others, as some are under contract and some will be free agents.
There are two common themes in my list: 1) those that I would target in my search if I were looking around the NFL at QB options for the Arizona Cardinals if Kurt Warner does in fact retire, and 2) all of these teams could use a top tier WR such as Anquan Boldin.
It is no secret that Boldin is unhappy in the desert and wants out, and with the way Early Doucet emerged at the end of the season I fully expect them to try their best to move Boldin now that he is expendable.