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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
    RamWraith is offline Registered User
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    With Mad Mike in pursuit, Arizona had to lock up Warner

    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    02/15/2006


    Kurt Warner is finished as a top-flight quarterback. At least that is what NFL experts have told us the last few years.

    So that makes his latest accomplishment all the more fascinating.

    Warner signed a three-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday. If he plays out the whole contract -- until he is 37 years old -- he would earn at least $15 million. He could also earn some impressive bonus dollars if he keeps the starting assignment.

    “If Kurt plays the way he played last year, he'll wind up making between $22 (million) to $23 million over three years,” agent Mark Bartelstein told the Arizona Republic.


    Why did the Gridbirds pony up so much to keep him? The team had no choice. Mike Martz had taken a renewed interest in Warner’s career.

    As head coach of the Rams, Mad Mike had assured us that Warner was toast. That is why he elevated Marc Bulger to the starting role and jettisoned Warner to the New York Giants.

    But as the new offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, Martz eyeballed all those 300-yard passing games Warner racked up for otherwise hapless Arizona last season.

    He figured the former MVP could help lead the underachieving Lions offense to respectability. Suddenly, Martz seemed covetous of No. 13.

    Compared to current Lions quarterback Joey Harrington, Warner looked like Joe Montana in his prime. Warner offered the potential of a quick fix in Motown.

    He could have implemented the Air Martz offense and got more out of the young Lions receivers and running backs. He clearly has more left than Jeff Garcia, last season’s veteran alternative to Harrington in Detroit.

    As luck would have it, Martz and Warner had patched up their relationship during their time apart. A reunion became feasible.


    So Cardinals executive Rod Graves stepped up, offered Warner major money and assured he could retain his starting role heading into training camp.

    “He views it as a great opportunity,” Bartelstein said. “He thinks they are a couple pieces away from being a dynamic team.”

    The move prevented Warner from becoming an unrestricted free agent on March 3. Instead, Josh McCown will likely depart as a free agent, leaving the Cardinals to find another young quarterback to groom behind Warner.

    (As for Martz, don’t be surprised if he asks Matt Millen to acquire Matt Schaub from Atlanta. The kid is stuck there as Michael Vick’s back-up and Martz loved him coming out of college. Had Mike been able to draft him, who knows how this season might have played out differently.)


    This whole adventure underscores the scarcity of good quarterbacking in the NFL. When healthy last season, Warner was a solid producer for a team that lacked a ground game and competent pass blocking.

    He completed 64.5 percent of his passes last season, good for 2,713 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 10 games. His quarterback rating was 85.8.

    And here is what got him the new deal: Warner had passing days of 359, 354, 334, 327 and 315 yards despite facing constant pressure.

    He gambled by signing in Arizona, but that gambit paid off. When he played for the perennial also-ran, he played pretty well.

    Last season was vindication of sorts for Warner, who insisted all along that he could still play at a high level in the NFL. This new contract in Arizona is validation of that.

    And for that, Warner owes Martz some thanks.


  2. #2
    sbramfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: With Mad Mike in pursuit, Arizona had to lock up Warner

    Good for Kurt. Hopefully not bad for us, with AZ in our division. They do appear to be up and coming, if they can protect KW.

    And here is what got him the new deal: Warner had passing days of 359, 354, 334, 327 and 315 yards despite facing constant pressure
    He does make a 300+ yard game look easy. This was one of my main arguments in the KW vs. MB. (Not revisiting it, just reminds me of what Kurt brought to the table). A 300+ yard game for Bulger feels like he was out there all day passing. Kurt had a stronger arm and threw 20 yard passes effortless, like they were 10 yard passes and before you knew it, he was approaching 300 yards.

  3. #3
    megas711's Avatar
    megas711 is offline Registered User
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    Re: With Mad Mike in pursuit, Arizona had to lock up Warner

    Mike just doesnt want to give up the quarterback that he basically created. I think Mike will be moving around to different teams alot now, hoping for a chance to get back in with his former-star quarterback.
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