One of the many teams in the hunt for a starting quarterback is the Arizona Cardinals who, a year later, are still working on the not so small task of replacing Kurt Warner.
Marc Bulger, who followed Warner in St. Louis, has been mentioned as a possibility. The Cardinals have been mentioned as one of the three NFC West teams that could be interested in Kevin Kolb, who the Philadelphia Eagles are shopping.
Of course, the Cardinals are also out kicking the tires on some of the draft prospects, and it’s believed they’ll take a close look at Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert although they may not be interested in Auburn’s Cam Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner.
If the Cardinals don’t go after a high draft pick – and sitting at No. 5 there is no guarantee Gabbert will be available when they select – then they’re going to have to fish in an awful small pond of veterans.
Compounding the problem is owner Bill Bidwill doesn’t want to spend big for a veteran quarterback at this point. One league source said ownership isn’t inclined to do anything more than the $4 million, one-year contract that Warner was given in 2005 after his not so successful stint with the New York Giants. Now, Warner walked away from the second year of a $23 million, two-year contract in 2010, but the Cardinals didn’t pay him until he performed like he did during the heyday of the Greatest Show on Turf.
Per our source, Bidwill doesn’t want to open the checkbook to pay and there is some concern this is going to handcuff coach Ken Whisenhunt. The Cardinals, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, will impose a 35 percent pay cut on coaches beginning April 11 if the lockout is still ongoing. Slashing coaches’ salaries is a good way to motivate them to seek work elsewhere. Going cheap at the single most important position in football is a good way to ensure the franchise returns to its old ways.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune