Matt Leinart: Ranking the Best Teams For QB To Resurrect His Career

Sam WestmorelandFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2010

Matt Leinart: Ranking the Best Teams For QB To Resurrect His Career

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    NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 23:  Quarterback Matt Leinart #7 of the Arizona Cardinals surveys the Tennessee Titans defense during a preseason game at LP Field on August 23, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee defeated Arizona, 24-10.  (Photo by Grant Halve
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Matt Leinart, Arizona Cardinals QB, might not have that team name in next to his name for too much longer.

    The former star at USC, Heisman trophy winner, and first-round draft pick has had a falling out of sorts in the desert.

    Despite completing 19 of his 23 pass attempts in three regular season games, Leinart has been passed over for former Brown Derek Anderson.

    And don't think he's happy about it.

    With what the Cardinals ownership (the notoriously stingy Bidwells) are paying him, don't think they're too happy with the situation either.

    There is one solution to this whole mess: trade Leinart. But where? Who would be willing to pick up his massive salary ($2.4 million this season, $7.5 million next) for a guy who hasn't proven his worth as an NFL starter. 

    Here are 10 teams who could (or should) take a shot at Leinart in the coming days. I ranked them based on quality of team, quarterback situation, and Leinart's potential happiness there. 

10. New York Giants

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    BALTIMORE - AUGUST 28:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants passes against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Giants at halftime 17-3. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Team quality: Solid.

    Talented young wideout corps, with Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham, plus tight end Kevin Boss. Good run game, with Brandon Jacobs bringing the thunder and Ahmad Bradshaw providing the lightning. This team looks to have the talent for a playoff run.

    Quarterback situation: Locked in.

    Eli Manning is the team's quarterback. He's the go-to guy. He has had some injury issues as of late, though. The team's backup, Jim Sorgi, has a rather serious shoulder injury, so Leinart would slide in as number two. 

    Leinart's Happiness: Low.

    He wants to start, that's why he's leaving Arizona. Why would he go to a team where the only chance of it happening is if a guy who has missed limited time in his career gets hurt? 

    Chances: Low. 

9. Philadelphia Eagles

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    CINCINNATI - AUGUST 20:  Kevin Kolb #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball during the NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 20, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Team Quality: High.

    The Eagles have one of the youngest, most talented offensive rosters in football. Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson at wideout, and Brent Celek at tight end give the quarterback plenty of options. LeSean McCoyhas looked good shouldering most of the workload in Philly thus far. This team is going places.

    Quarterback situation: Somewhat locked in.

    Kevin Kolb was named the starter after the team sent former pro bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb to Washington. But Kolb has struggled mightily in the preseason, having failed to score a touchdown yet. Backup Michael Vick hasn't been the same since prison. There could be hope here, if Kolb's struggles continue into the regular season.

    Leinart's Happiness level: Low.

    Much like New York, he wouldn't be the team's first option at quarterback, and might not be the second. But Andy Reid favors traditional passers and Kolb has struggled as the starter this year. If he ends up in Philly, he could start. 

8. Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 28: Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders p asses againsthe San Francisco 49ers during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 28, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Team Quality: Much improved.

    A talented young receiver corps, led by Louis Murphy, Chaz Schliens, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Tight end Zach Miller is an underrated commodity. The run game has improved as well, with Michael Bush and Darren McFadden. There is more talent offensively than the Raiders have had in quite a while.

    Quarterback Situation: Locked in.

    Jason Campbell was paid big money by the Raiders to be their starter and he's looked solid during the preseason. He's definitely the starter. After that, it's kind of in the air, although Bruce Gradkowski did well as the backup last year. Kyle Boller is also in the mix.

    Leinart's happiness: Low.

    He wouldn't be starting and might not even be a top-three quarterback, with Boller and Gradkowski there. The Raiders are interested, although the reasoning is strange. I don't think it'll happen. 

7. Minnesota Vikings

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    MINNEAPOLIS - AUGUST 28:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during a preseason NFL game at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on August 28, 2010  in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Team Quality: Among the best on the list.

    With depth at wideout, tight end and running back, the Vikings are a popular Super Bowl pick. 

    Quarterback situation: Locked in this season.

    Brett Favre is Minnesota's starter this year. If Leinart can wait one more year though, things could look a lot different; he could be holding the keys to one of the most potent offenses in football. 

    Leinart's happiness: Low to medium.

    With such an ancient quarterback as the starter, Leinart could be convinced to back him up for a year, then take over the starting gig. But they would probably only have a year of patience from Matt, who waited a while in Arizona to take over.

6. Houston Texans

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    NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 21:  Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans in action during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on August 21, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Team Quality: The passing game is one of the most dynamic in football with Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones at wideout, and Owen Daniels at tight end. The run game is suspect, but there is talent there in Arian Foster and Steve Slaton.

    Quarterback Situation: Locked in.

    Matt Schaub is the man to run this offense. But he can't seem to stay healthy for a whole season, opening the door for Leinart to steal the starting job from him. 

    Leinart's happiness: Low to medium.

    If Schaub gets hurt (which is likely, given his history) Leinart steps in and becomes the man in Houston. Much like Minnesota though, if he's not starting next year, they'll look to deal him. 

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    DENVER - AUGUST 29:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
    Justin Edmonds /Getty Images

    Team Quality: Strong.

    Good receivers in Hines Ward and Mike Wallace, plus a strong tight end in Heath Miller. The run game will be much improved with Rashard Mendenhall as the starting back.

    Quarterback situation: Muddled.

    Ben Roethlisberger would be locked in as the starter, were it not for his 4-6 game suspension. Neither Dennis Dixon nor Byron Leftwich have impressed in the preseason and Leinart could step in and become the starter.

    Leinart's happiness: Medium.

    Matt could become the guy in Pittsburgh right away and with some success, could convince Steelers brass to send Big Ben and his troubles packing. But the Steelers seem happy with what they've got, so it probably won't happen. 

4. Chicago Bears

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 28: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears drops back to pass against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Bears 14-9. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Get
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Team Quality: Improving.

    The Bears have a trio of potential laden receivers in Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, and Devin Aromashodu. Their run game should be improved with Matt Forte looking like a perfect fit in Mike Martz's system. 

    Quarterback Situation: Locked in.

    Jay Cutler is the expensive starter but he hasn't looked all that solid in his first season at Soldier Field. If Cutler stumbles badly out of the gate, the Bears will need a decent replacement quickly. 

    Leinart's Happiness: Medium.

    In Martz's system, Leinart could flourish. However, Cutler would have to struggle enough to convince the Bears they need to look elsewhere, which is highly possible given last season. 

3. Kansas City Chiefs

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 27: Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs drops back to pass during a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Arrowhead Stadium on August 27, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
    G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

    Team Quality: Not the worst on the list.

    Decent receivers in Chris Chambers and Dwayne Bowe, and strong running backs in Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.

    Quarterback Situation: Somewhat locked in.

    The Chiefs gave up some draft picks to get Matt Cassel from the Patriots, but he hasn't impressed in his time in Kansas City. He hasn't stayed healthy and has struggled to find a rhythm. Leinart would back him up and could well be the starter if Cassel's struggles continue this year.

    Leinart's happiness: Medium.

    Cassel is far from firmly established and the other options in K.C. are less than inspiring. Leinart could do well here. 

2. Seattle Seahawks

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 21:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks passes during the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Qwest Field on August 21, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Team Quality: Better than last year.

    Wideouts T.J. Houshmanzadeh and Golden Tate look to possibly be the answer in Seattle, while tight end John Carlson is an underrated option at thight end. The running game is a mess but the talent is there.

    Quarterback Situation: In flux.

    The Seahawks starter is Matt Hasselbeck, who seems to be made of glass. He's also getting old, which means retirement is coming soon. Backup Charlie Whitehurst hasn't impressed and Leinart could be the best option the Seahawks have. 

    Leinart's Happiness: High.

    He comes in to play for his college coach and would be the best young quarterback on the roster. If he doesn't play this year, he'd be in the thick of things for next year. I could see this as one plausible destination for him. 

1. Buffalo Bills

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    LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 13:  Trent Edwards #5 of the Buffalo Bills is hit during the preseason game by Perry Riley #53 of the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on August 13, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Team Quality: Low.

    The Bills lack any talent at wide receiver other than Lee Evans. The run game is a mess, with three backs who could start, but there is plenty of talent in the backfield.

    Quarterback Situation: A disaster area.

    Trent Edwards hasn't stayed healthy and hasn't impressed when he was, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a lousy quarterback, and Brian Brohm hasn't gotten a fair shake anywhere he's been. Leinart could step right in and be the man. 

    Leinart's Happiness: High.

    He would immediately be the best quarterback on the roster and the de-facto starter. His style fits the short pass game the Bills tend to favor and he wouldn't take much blame if they sucked this year. Seems to be the perfect place for Matt to go. 

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