Leinart trade rumors escalating quickly in Arizona

The Cardinals may be kicking former first-round pick Matt Leinart out of the nest.

The sports media is alight with talks of Leinart’s possible departure, which was first reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports.  In addition, ESPN’s Mike Sando and NFL Insider Adam Schefter have picked up the story as well.

Schefter reported that the Cardinals placed calls to several teams to gauge interest in Leinart.  The most meaningful talks are believed to be with the Raiders, Bills, and Giants.

The Bills, however, have taken themselves out of the mix as fast as they were reported to be in it.  According to Schefter, the “Bills are uncomfortable about bringing aboard the quarterback’s contract, which carries a $2.485 million base salary this season and balloons to $7.36 million next season.”  An understandable concern that could end up blocking a potential trade with any team.

As for New York and Oakland, Schefter stated that “at least one member of each organization had a conversation this week, discussing the idea of trading for Leinart.  It is unknown how serious each team is about for Leinart, but the topic has been broached in the organizations.”  It seems, therefore, that talks with New York and Oakland are still alive so long as the trade package is attractive enough.

Many things are unclear at this point, the least of which is what the Cardinals are asking in return.  Also baffling is how the Cardinals went from thinking Leinart was a legitimate starting QB as recently as a week ago, to dangling him as trade bait.  Although Ken Whisenhunt assured everyone that there is nothing personal going on with Leinart, can we honestly buy that anymore?  I’m certainly having a tough time with it.

In the midst of all this, Derek Anderson will remain the starter against the Redskins tomorrow (9/2), though Leinart will play, assuming he’s not traded within the next 24 hours.  Basically, Whisenhunt hasn’t changed the depth chart since last game, which means Anderson stays on top.  It now appears that Anderson has pretty much locked up the starting job for the regular season.  With the trade and cut rumors surrounding an already rocky relationship, the Cardinals and Leinart may have reached the end of the road.  Yet another crazy set of circumstances during an off-season for the ages.

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