Could Cardinals be eyeing a run at Matt Hasselbeck?

Marc Bulger looked like a perfect fit for the Arizona Cardinals a year ago but they wound up with a veteran that didn’t perform so well.

Derek Anderson flopped and the Cardinals are in Year 2 of their effort to replace Kurt Warner. Len Pasquarelli of CBS Sports reported that it would be an “upset” if the Cardinals use the fifth pick of the draft tonight on Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The Cardinals have done extensive work on him and the owners made the trip to Columbia, Mo., for a private workout.

Per the report, the belief is the Cardinals “have an understanding” with Bulger this time around, meaning they’re waiting for the doors to free agency to swing wide open and bring him on board. Arizona has to find a quarterback – in the draft or in free agency – and failing to take one early in the draft will place them in a distinct position of need when free agency opens. Bulger is an experienced veteran who could keep the seat warm, and likely perform better than Anderson did even if he has started only eight games over the last two seasons.

Another name is floating around out there, though. Sources have said the Cardinals are quietly hoping that they can make a run at Matt Hasselbeck in free agency. He will be 35 when the season begins, one year older than Bulger, and even though he had a rocky 2010 season, he performed well in the playoffs. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt certainly knows him well having faced him two times per season in the NFC West.

The Seahawks will probably have to pass on Hasselbeck for him to fly to Arizona. Seattle has expressed an interest in re-signing him, and Hasselbeck has even said he’d like to pass on what knowledge and experience he has to a young player, even a first-round draft pick. A little leverage would never hurt Hasselbeck either.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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