Cardinals running back Edgerrin James had the line of the day regarding the end of Leinart's 15-day holdout: "He's cool. I only deal with cool people."
Leinart is raking in the cool millions -- $50.8 million over six years, including $14 million guaranteed -- and soon the pressure will be on him to perform. This season, Arizona hopes that Leinart will watch Kurt Warner lead the team to the postseason for just the second time since 1988. But next season, the onus will be on Leinart to take the team to the next level.
He has already seemingly passed John Navarre on the depth chart, and is just one Kurt Warner injury (and there have been plenty of those over the past few seasons) away from the field. It's easy to be anointed as the savior of the franchise when all you have to do is sign autographs and hold a clipboard. Things will be very different for Leinart if Warner goes down and he is thrust onto the field.
Will Leinart be able to take his lumps, a la Eli Manning, but remain on the fast track to success? Or will he be another highly successful college quarterback who earns a high salary in the NFL only to underperform? We might get our first answers this Saturday, as Leinart is expected to play in the Cardinals' preseason game at New England. But the real answers will come down the road. The Cardinals hope far down the road, as in 2007.
The story goes that Leinart received a call from his agent reporting the $50.8 million deal while the QB was watching Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Making $50.8 million while watching a summer blockbuster? Now that's cool.
Posted by Ted Rossman at 8/16/2006 3:55:00 PM