NFL Cuts: Cardinals Release Matt Leinart, Why It Was a Smart Decision

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIISeptember 4, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 29:  Matt Leinart #7 of the Arizona Cardinals drops back to throw a pass against the Tennessee Titans during their game at LP Field on November 29, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

According to various reports, the Arizona Cardinals have officially released quarterback  Matt Leinart, and they made the right call.

Leinart, a former USC star, was taken with the tenth overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft with the notion that he would become their franchise leader. 

Despite showing tremendous potential in his first NFL start by throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns while posting a 91.7 passer rating, he has gone downhill from there on.

Throughout his four-year career, he has been marked by his inability to lead or be a winner. In fact, he's posted a 7-10 (.411) record in his 17 career starts. 

Even though he was given numerous opportunities to claim the starting role, he was never able to overtake Kurt Warner

After the future hall of fame quarterback is retired, Leinart was expected to take the reigns. However, head coach Ken Wisenhunt was unsatisfied with Leinart's lack of maturity. 

Now, the team is giving the nod to free agent acquisition Derek Anderson. 

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Since being selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007, Anderson has been on a downhill slump as well. Last season, he registered a pathetic 42.1 passer rating. 

Reading between the lines, the 'confidence' that the Cardinals have in Anderson should just go to show how little faith they had in Leinart.

That said it's fair to say that Leinart has been an absolute bust. Today, the Cardinals organization wisely admitted their mistake. Still, considering that he was drafted ahead of twenty other Pro Bowl players, I'm sure they are feeling the pain. 

The team attempted to get some value in return as they've reportedly been in discussion with the Bills, Raiders, and Giants. Yet, in the end with no imminent trade in place, they decided it was best to part ways and keep him off the final 53-man roster. 

Personally, I feel that was the best possible decision to make at the moment. With the season set to kickoff in just a matter of days, the team didn't need any potential distractions lingering. 

They can now focus on preparing for their season opener against the St. Louis Rams and beyond.

And, optimistically speaking, even if the Anderson experiment fails, the upcoming draft class is loaded with skilled quarterbacks which puts the Cardinals a great opportunity.

On the flip side, while Leinart currently has no takers, I wouldn't be surprised to see a team take a chance on him if the likely scenario of an injury were to occur.

Of course, even though I don't see much potential in him, it'd be a great turnaround story if he were to revive his career and I wish him the best of luck moving forward. 

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