Next team will make or break Leinart's professional career
Now that he's an ex-Cardinal,
If he's smart, Leinart will take some time and think long and hard and not just sign with the first team that slides a contract and dangles its backup QB job in front of him. Because his second NFL team will likely either make or break him.
Leinart should beware of a team that might pose the quickest opportunity for some playing time -- say, maybe a Buffalo or Jacksonville-type situation -- but perhaps leads nowhere good in terms of his long-term interests. He needs someone to invest some time and development in him at this crossroads point in his career, not just take a one-season look at him and render a hasty judgment.
I found some sentiment within the league Saturday afternoon that agrees with my thinking on Leinart, and who believes he might be better served to sit and wait until the right team comes along, even if it means he loses all of his 2010 season in the process.
"It sounds kind of crazy, and I know he wants to play somewhere this year, but he might be better off scrapping the season and seeing what develops for him in 2011,'' a veteran club personnel man told me. "He's already in a bad spot, but the biggest thing he needs to do is go somewhere he's going to have a comfort level with the offense and the people who are coaching him. That's critical.
"There's really not much of an opportunity for him in too many places at this point this year. If he goes somewhere just to go somewhere, and it turns out badly there, he may be done at that point. It's not about the playing time or the money for him now. He should be trying to figure out where the perfect spot is for him to land, and who can work with him and help him learn how to study and how to be a pro.''
Is there a perfect landing spot for Leinart, who went 10th overall to Arizona in 2006? Maybe not, but some opportunities would be far better than others. Five fairly logical teams come to mind:
One scenario I don't foresee unfolding regarding Leinart is him signing somewhere in the next day or two and immediately interjecting himself into that team's starting quarterback situation (with the possible exception, I suppose, of Pittsburgh, where it's a short-term need the Steelers have). It's my sense he's not the type of QB who will be capable of walking in the door and learning his new team's offense in two weeks. I don't think he's experienced enough to absorb a whole playbook that quickly and impress a new team enough in practice to warrant some early season playing time.
For Leinart, it is time to choose very wisely. Otherwise his second team might wind up being his last chance in the NFL.
Seems like the Vikings would make sense for Houshmandzadeh now, especially with Minnesota releasing
• The Cardinals love rookie quarterback
The Cardinals have to be second-guessing their decision to not sign
For that matter, Arizona could have been a player in the
• Bad days lately for Heisman Trophy winners, huh? Both Leinart (2004 winner) and Baltimore's
On the plus side,
• I was at Redskins camp the day it opened, and I could tell