GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 14: Quarterback Matt Leinart #7 of the Arizona Cardinals drops back to pass during preseason NFL game against the Houston Texans at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 14, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Texans 19-16. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matt Leinart
However, on Saturday, the Cardinals were prepared and Leinart was given the boot.
Leinart, the Heisman Trophy winner who was drafted 10th overall in 2006, has never developed into the franchise quarterback the Cardinals hoped for, finishing his stint in the desert with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions over four seasons.
Three quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the 2006 draft. Of the three, Leinart is the only one who hasn't made it to the Pro Bowl. Both of the other quarterbacks, Vince Young and Jay Cutler, are Pro Bowlers and starters for their teams.
Leinart started 11 games his rookie season but lost the battle for the starting job to veteran QB Kurt Warner in 2007 and 2008. After Warner retired this past season, Leinart, once again, was named QB1. In the off-season, the Cardinals brought in former Pro Bowler Derek Anderson.
After a solid performance by Anderson in pre-season and a shaky performance by Leinart, the Cardinals looked to trade Leinart but to no avail. Leinart was scheduled to make $2.76 million this season and $7 million next season.
Leinart will find his way to another NFL team but as a backup and for a significantly reduced salary. He might rather return to the good old days of college football, although he wouldn't start over Matt Barkley at USC.