March 6th, 2009 11:30 EST
2-Time MVP Kurt Warner Signs $23 Million Contract
Following the Cardinals` heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, Kurt Warner`s future in the NFL was debatable. But after pursuing contracts with the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers, Warner dispelled any rumors he was still considering retirement. On Wednesday, he signed a contract keeping him in Arizona for the next 2 years.
The quarterback`s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said that he and his client agreed to terms that were between what Arizona had originally offered him and what Warner asked for initially.
Going into negotiations with teams vying for his services, Warner wanted to become one of the top 5 highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. And earlier this week, he made a trip to see San Francisco 49er personnel that was received by the media as perhaps the precursor to new Warner-led era in the city by the bay. The news came as a surprise to everyone seeing that Kurt made it be known he wanted to finish his professional career in Phoenix.
True to his word, Warner dispatched Bartelstein to cut his going rate for his Cardinals and to offer the team a 2-year, $23 million deal. The sole doubts over the new figure was whether or not Arizona would accept the new deal, $3 million more than they had originally offered Kurt to stay put.
Warner`s agent revealed the good news to media sources on Wednesday about the new reworked contract.
We finally got it done. We`re excited about that. I think it`s good for everybody. Bartelstein also elaborated that the current agreement includes a $15 million signing bonus. There was quite a furor of uncertainty coming out of Arizona`s intercessions with Kurt Warner`s agent especially when the team`s whole offense had been built around the quarterback. Now that the ink has dried on Arizona`s fortunes, this autumn is sure to witness many more hook-ups between Warner and his 2 all-star wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.
Last year marked Warner`s triumphant return to the MVP form from his days with the St. Louis Rams. His remarkable feat in bringing the Cardinals from the brink of mediocrity to NFC Champions turned into one of the best stories in sports that actually realized. Matt Leinart had been touted as the team`s future at QB, but Warner won the job during last year`s training camp. In a season that led to a Pro Bowl selection, Warner completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,583 yards, and 30 touchdowns compared to only 14 interceptions. In 4 playoff games, Kurt even overarched his own excellence during the regular season with 1,147 passing yards, 11 TD`s to go along with 3 paltry interceptions.
So it seemed befitting that the year`s defensive MVP, James Harrison, of the Steelers, finally stopped the former MVP`s lucky streak when he intercepted Warner and ran it back for a touchdown, which proved to be the difference in the Super Bowl: 23-27. Though he had the one costly error in the Super Bowl, Kurt was 31 for 47 with 377 yards and 3 TD`s.
Even if you were an unwavering Steelers` fan, you couldn`t help but root for the guy with such humble beginnings. Going into the biggest football game of the year, everyone became familiar with Warner`s yarn of how he had risen from being a stock boy at a supermarket, to going into the AFL, the NFL Europe, and finally to the St. Louis Rams. Replacing the injured starting QB Trent Green, Kurt went on to win 2 MVP awards and a Super Bowl ring with the Rams before he was outgunned and outmatched by his replacement, Marc Bulger. He embarked into the free agent market and settled into a New York Giants uniform where he was overshadowed by the rookie sensation Eli Manning. As a relatively cheap pickup by the Cardinals, he was a reserve second-stringer until he demonstrated the prowess that made him great in the pre-season which translated into his Pro Bowl 2008 campaign.