Leinart finally agrees to deal
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Associated Press
Posted: 9 days ago
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Matt Leinart ended his two-week holdout and signed with the Arizona Cardinals.

The team announced the signing late Monday night and Leinart was expected to begin training camp Tuesday.

The six-year deal can bring the rookie up to $51 million, agent Tom Condon said. Leinart will be guaranteed $14 million, according to Condon.

Earlier Monday, Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green criticized Leinart and his representatives for rejecting "a more than generous" offer from the team.

Leinart was the last first-round pick to reach a contract agreement.

ESPN first reported the agreement on "Monday Night Football."

The agreement came three days before the Cardinals will end their camp at Northern Arizona University. They play at New England on Saturday.

After winning the Heisman Trophy, Leinart might have been the No. 1 pick in the draft a year ago, but decided to remain at USC for his senior season. This year, he unexpectedly fell to the Cardinals at the No. 10 spot, a tumble that cost him millions.

He was the first quarterback chosen in the opening round by the Cardinals in 19 years.

Leinart was the second quarterback chosen in the draft, behind Vince Young of Texas, who went to Tennessee with the No. 3 pick overall, and one spot ahead of Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt, who went to Denver.

Young signed a six-year contract worth up to $58 million, with $25.7 million guaranteed. Cutler signed a six-year deal worth as much as $48 million, with $11 million guaranteed.

Green's criticism focused on what the coach said was far more than a 10th pick normally would receive. A grumpy Green was upset with the perception that Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill was being cheap.

"I've been here two years," Green said. "All I know is when we set out a strategy, whether it be signing Bertrand Berry or drafting Larry Fitzgerald, Bill Bidwill has helped us get that player."

He said the signing of running back Edgerrin James was the best example.

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  • "Edgerrin James is as big as they come," Green said. "We had our powder dry and we got a guy who's been the most significant back in the National Football League over the last seven years."

    Leinart's absence was magnified when starter Kurt Warner's backup John Navarre threw two interceptions in Saturday's preseason opener against Pittsburgh.

    Warner said he understood Green's frustrations.

    "Coach wants guys to help us win and Matt's one of those guys that's going to make our team better," Warner said. "That sometimes can get frustrating as players, as a coach, because so much of that is out of your control."

    Leinart has missed a crucial two weeks of training camp, Warner said.

    "I think everybody knows that the more days you miss, the more games you miss, the farther and farther you fall behind and the harder it is to catch up," Warner said.

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