Deal, no deal? Leinart, Cardinals can't get together
Five days into training camp, and with no significant progress in the negotiations between the Arizona Cardinals and the representatives for first-round draft pick Matt Leinart, the two sides on Friday swapped letters but not contract proposals.
The message of the missives faxed between Cardinals vice president of football operations Rod Graves and agent Tom Condon of CAA remains unknown. But judging from Condon's demeanor Friday evening, one might surmise the two sides weren't exchanging pleasantries, or any other verbiage that might move them closer to an accord.
"There's really nothing to report," said Condon, who last week spent three days in face-to-face bargaining before leaving the Phoenix area without a deal. "I guess you could say we're talking, in a sense, but it really hasn't been anything you could call progress. It is what it is."
Leinart is one of just three first-round selections who remain unsigned, with safeties Donte Whitner of the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins' Jason Allen joining the former Southern California quarterback in being absent from their respective training camps. Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley, the first-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, agreed to terms on Friday afternoon after missing two weeks of camp.
It's believed the Cardinals have made about three different proposals to Leinart but, obviously, either the numbers, the terms or the structure was not amenable to the former USC star.
The 10th overall choice in the draft and probably a bargain in that slot after he posted a brilliant 37-2 record as the Trojans' starter for three seasons, Leinart was in Phoenix for several days last week and actually spent time throwing with some Arizona receivers. But when he missed last Sunday evening's deadline for reporting to camp and then Monday's opening practice, Leinart returned home to the Los Angeles area.
The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, Leinart is expected to battle two-year veteran John Navarre for the backup job behind starter Kurt Warner once his contract is resolved. The consensus is that the Cardinals chose Leinart to groom him as the team's quarterback of the future.
During his celebrated college career, Leinart completed 807-of-1,245 passes for 10,693 yards, with 99 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here .
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