Warner, Cardinals to begin talking soon about new contract

Although Arizona Republic contributor Kent Somers writes that Kurt Warner and the Cardinals could begin discussing a new contract as early as this week, he also doesn’t squash the idea that Warner could still retire this offseason.

Kurt WarnerI think it’s a mistake, however, to view that as a definitive sign that Warner isn’t retiring. Warner has said there are a number of factors to consider in making the decision, and I think he’ll weigh all of them before making a commitment.

Warner has said several times that one of the most important factors will be how interested the Cardinals are in having him back. And there’s no better way to gauge that interest than seeing what the team is willing to offer in a new contract. That’s what Bartelstein is doing now. It would be silly for Warner to say he wants to play again, only to find the Cardinals are offering far below what he thinks is fair.

Another factor in Warner’s decision will be assessing the team’s determination to keep its core of talented players. He is also curious about Ken Whisenhunt’s plans for the offensive coaching staff. Warner was close with coordinator Todd Haley, now the Chiefs coach. Jeff Rutledge, the quarterbacks coach, has been fired. How Whisenhunt fills those spots will factor in Warner’s decision. It might not be a huge part of it, given that Whisenhunt is going to call plays, but it will have an impact.

Money, too, will play a part. Warner and his wife Brenda do a lot of charity work through their foundation, First Things First, and he’s told me before that he won’t have problems staying busy in retirement. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him on television, either. But there’s nowhere else he can make the kind of money the Cardinals likely will pay him — $8 million to $10 million a year.

Even with all the potential factors that Somers highlighted in his article, I think we’ll see Warner back in a Cardinal uniform for at least another year. It has to be tough for a player to taste another Super Bowl, not win it and then retire in the offseason, especially when it’s a top competitor like Warner. I bet we see a deal get done early in the free agency period.

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