Is Matt Leinart Worth The Salary?

Ted Leroux @@TedLerouxCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2008

When the Arizona Cardinals selected Matt Leinart 10th overall in the 2006 draft, he entered training camp as a rookie of the year candidate in the NFL.

After Leinart won the job in training camp over Kurt Warner he was expected to succeed not because of his pure talent, but because of the talent he had around him. He had Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin to throw to and when the defense played soft he could hand it off to Edgerrin James. He also had a pass happy head coach in Dennis Green.

So why didn't Matt Leinart succeed? In his first season he threw 11 TD's and 12 Int's along with 2547 yards and a 56.8% completion rate. These numbers were okay, but where Leinart really struggled because he was working behind of one of the weakest offensive in the NFL. He was under constant pressure from furious NFL defenses.

He entered 2007 with slight upgrades among the offensive line but it was still mediocre. He started the year as the starter but after an early season injury he was sidlined for the remainder of the year and a legend was ressurected when Kurt Warner took over at quarterback for the Cardinals. Warner ended the year with 27 TD's and 17 Int's.

In 2008 Warner started as the starting quarterback for Arizona and Ken Whisenhunt designated Matt Leinart "Clipboard Holder". He has only thrown two passes in 2008 and played a total of three snaps. This year Kurt Warner is in the MVP conversation and it is only helping Leinart as he is learning from one of the best pure passers of our generation. 

As the Cardinals move forward, the two major pickups that were to said to put Arizona over the top, Matt Leinart and Edgerrin James, are seeing limited playing time this season.

The Cardinals now have a pretty good offensive line but they struggle with the running game. But Kurt Warner can't play forever so Matt Leinart is going to ask to play in one or two years, and when he steps in Ken Whisenhunt will ask him to manage the game, which will require a good running game.

So, in the end, Arizona is going to have establish the running game which is a specialty of Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm but Matt Leinart has shown the sparks of ability in his rookie year to be a great quarterback.

In the end he will be worth the salary when they win NFC West titles year after year in the coming future.