(CBSSports.com Ryan Wilson) — Nothing like a lockout to artificially inflate Matt Leinart‘s value. The former Cardinals first-round pick in the 2006 draft, Leinart’s NFL career has been underwhelming by any measure.
After five starts as a rookie, he toiled mostly as a backup. Leinart was also occasionally characterized as disgruntled, and that eventually led to Arizona releasing him prior to the 2010 season.
“In fairness to Matt, I think that it would be a tough position for him to be in a backup role,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said at the time. “Maybe a fresh start for him is what would be a good thing, for all of us.”
Leinart signed with Houston, where he took exactly zero snaps.
Now, according to the Houston Chronicle‘s John McClain, “the Texans would love to have him back” but admits “Leinart wants to play for a team that’ll give him a chance to start. I see him being reunited with Pete Carroll.”
Dan Pompei, writing for NationalFootballPost.com, echoes McClain’s thinking that, ultimately, Leinart could end up with Carroll. But just like Whisenhunt in Arizona and Gary Kubiak in Houston, Pompei doesn’t think Leinart will be the starter in Seattle, either.
Chances are looking good that the Seahawks may have two new quarterbacks by the time camp opens. They tried to re-sign Matt Hasselbeck before the lockout started and couldn’t come to terms. Now they may move on if they can find a better alternative (hello, Kevin Kolb) as a starter. Getting hurt in each of the last three years has left Hasselbeck vulnerable in Seattle. And it would almost be an upset if the Seahawks didn’t sign Matt Leinart to come in as a backup. The Seahawks might not be crazy about what they have seen of Leinart on tape, but coach Pete Carroll has won a lot of games with him, and he thinks he can win some more.
With the Cardinals, the knock against Leinart wasn’t his ability (although his inconsistent efforts in practice didn’t help), it was that he wasn’t considered a leader.
ESPN.com’s NFC West blogger Mike Sando wrote last September that “Leinart could have made this work if he had played by Whisenhunt’s rules. He wasn’t willing (or possibly able) to do that under difficult circumstances. He complained and pouted and made it impossible for Whisenhunt to name Leinart the leader of a locker room filled with players more closely aligned with the Whisenhunt mindset.”
As Whisenhunt said last fall, maybe a fresh start will be good for Leinart, even if he’s destined to be a backup. A bit of advice, Matt: try to avoid burning bridges like your former college teammate, LenDale White.