Cardinals give Leinart permission to seek trade

by | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
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While rumors swirl that the Arizona Cardinals have been attempting to attract a trade partner for quarterback Matt Leinart, league sources told The Sports Xchange on Thursday that the four-year veteran and his representatives have been granted permission to seek potential suitors for a deal.

But a quick survey of the several franchises rumored to have an interest in Leinart indicated that none has heard from anyone representing him.

Matt Leinart has been competing with Derek Anderson for the starting job. (AP)  
Matt Leinart has been competing with Derek Anderson for the starting job. (AP)  
Leinart's agent, Tom Condon, on Thursday declined to address his client's future, either with the Cardinals specifically or in the league in general.

It is not unusual for a franchise attempting to trade a player to grant permission for the player or his agents to test the market themselves. The team, though, still has the prerogative to accept trade conditions, if they are worked out.

It is unclear, if indeed the Cardinals are attempting to trade Leinart, as some reports have indicated, exactly what they are seeking in return for the '04 Heisman Trophy winner. That uncertainty involving an asking price might be one possible hurdle facing Leinart and his representatives.

The Arizona Republic reported that Leinart is expected to participate in Thursday night's preseason finale against Washington.

The 10th overall choice in the 2006 draft, Leinart started 11 games at a rookie. But the former Southern Cal star lost the starting job to Kurt Warner the following year, and has only six starts since. With the retirement of Warner this spring, Leinart was favored to win the starting spot. But his play has been spotty in preseason, and five-year veteran Derek Anderson, added in the offseason after the former Cleveland starter was released by the Browns, seems the favorite to open the year.

Leinart, 27, is scheduled to earn a $2.485 million base salary this season. His base salary for 2011 is $7.364 million and he is due a $5.5 million roster bonus on the first day of the league year.

As a vested veteran, if Leinart is released, his contract would be terminated immediately. He is not subjected to waivers but would be an unrestricted free agent.

Sources said that the Cardinals have not approached Leinart about a possible pay cut.

Len Pasquarelli is a Senior NFL Writer for The Sports Xchange. He has covered the NFL for 33 years and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. His NFL coverage earned recognition as the winner of the McCann Award for distinguished reporting in 2008.

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