Kurt Warner is scheduled to visit with the 49eres today, despite Warner’s previous insistence that “if [he] is going to play, [he] doesn’t want it to be anywhere else.” It is difficult, however, to fault Warner for shopping his services, presumably to determine his value. Whatever Warner’s current value is, it is unlikely to rise through the duration of his career. As a result, this is most likely Warner’s last shot at a large contract.
But how seriously is Warner considering starting the 2009 season as the 49ers’ 38 year old quarterback? Would Warner rather throw to the 49ers newly signed Brandon Jones and old buddy Isaac Bruce rather than Larry Fitzgerald? Perhaps he does. If we are to believe Warner’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, Warner’s interest is genuine. According to NFL.com’s Around the Web Blog, Bartelstein expressed Warner’s sincerity as follows:
“I know there’s a lot of skepticism out there,” Bartelstein said. “I’ll say this — the people that know Kurt Warner will tell you he doesn’t get into deals with people unless he is serious. He doesn’t use other people.”
Despite this statement, there are those who believe Warner is leveraging the Cardinals to squeeze more money from an unquestionably frugal organization. Whether or not this is true, some leveraging by Warner might be in order because more back and forth between Bartelstein and GM Rod Graves does not seem promising at this point. The fact that both sides expressed their confusion as to why a deal has not been struck is confusing in its own right. The reason seems clear; Warner wants elite money ($14 to $16 million) and the Cardinals want to pay second tier money ($10 – $12 million).
The 49ers buzz may be a necessary evil, after which the Cardinals and Warner can sit down and finally reach an agreement. But if the 49ers offer Warner around $14 million for two years with a lot of guaranteed money, the Cardinals may not be willing to match such an offer. In addition, it is interesting to note that according to an Associated Press story by Greg Beachum, 49ers’ quarterback Alex Smith will likely take a pay cut in his renegotiated contract. Whether or not this will relate to Warner’s visit is yet to be determined.