Sources: Matt Leinart trade discussed

Updated: September 1, 2010, 7:14 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and New York Giants have had discussions about trading for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart, league sources tell ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Leinart and the Cardinals are tiring of each other and as each day passes, many believe a trade of Leinart, who is unhappy that he's not starting, is more likely with roster moves coming this weekend, sources said.

And one executive told ESPN.com's Mike Sando that the Cardinals were calling around, trying to gauge the market for Leinart.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has decided to start Derek Anderson instead of Leinart in Thursday's preseason finale -- the second straight game Whisenhunt has tabbed Anderson as the starter instead of Leinart, who was widely expected to claim the job following Kurt Warner's retirement.

That decision followed a meeting between Leinart and Whisenhunt Monday afternoon, after the former Heisman Trophy winner told reporters that he had outplayed Anderson in training camp and preseason, and that his problem with his coach "probably goes beyond football."

The Bills' website said the team has not discussed trading for Leinart and will not trade for him. But two sources said the Bills had ongoing discussions this summer with the Cardinals regarding a trade for Leinart.

Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins coached Arizona's running backs last year. He is a big Leinart proponent and explained to Bills officials why he believed the team should make a trade for Leinart, a league source said.

Buffalo, however, is unlikely to trade for Leinart because the Bills are uncomfortable about bringing aboard the quarterback's contract, which carries a $2.485 million base salary this season and balloons to $7.36 million next season.

As for the Raiders and Giants, at least one member of each organization had a conversation this week discussing the idea of trading for Leinart. It is unknown how serious each team is about Leinart, but the topic has been broached in the organizations. The point to all this is clear: The Cardinals are willing to deal Leinart.

The Raiders denied interest in Leinart on Wednesday, saying in a statement they have never discussed acquiring him and that they are "very happy" about their quarterback situation.

Both the Raiders and Giants face injury issues at the position.

The Giants have lost veteran backup Jim Sorgi for the season with a shoulder injury, leaving second-year QB Rhett Bomar as the top backup to Eli Manning.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin acknowledged Tuesday that the team is looking for a veteran replacement, but only for the right price.

"Well, it depends on what the availability and what the cost is," Coughlin said. "I'm not saying we're doing that [bringing in a quarterback], but our people are not caught by surprise by this [Sorgi]. Our guys have been working on this for a couple of weeks."

Raiders starter Jason Campbell is recovering from a stinger sustained in a preseason game last week and returned to practice Monday. Bruce Gradkowski currently is penciled in as his backup.

Leinart did not make himself available to reporters after the Cardinals worked out Tuesday for the first time at Arizona State University's indoor practice facility. His meeting with Whisenhunt came amid widespread speculation that his days with Arizona could be numbered, that the team was looking to trade or possibly even release him.

Anderson, signed as a free agent after being released by Cleveland, has seen far more playing time than Leinart in the preseason. The former Oregon State quarterback has completed 31 of 53 passes (59 percent) for 287 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions.

Leinart has completed 83 percent (19 of 23) of his passes, most of them short-range throws, for 161 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.

Unless the Cardinals acquire another quarterback, the team would be left with the unlikely prospect of having two rookies -- John Skelton and Max Hall -- back up Anderson.

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN.com's Mike Sando, ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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