Could Carroll's Hire Push Leinart to Seattle?

Scout.com draft analyst Chris Steuber believes, as many others do, that the Seahawks' hire of Pete Carroll as head coach and team president could set up a scenario in which current Arizona Cardinals and former USC quarterback Matt Leinart would come to Seattle.

After firing Jim Mora on Friday morning, the Seahawks began a heavy courtship of USC head coach Pete Carroll. It's being reported that the Seahawks and Carroll are close to agreeing on a five-year contract that would pay Carroll an average of $8 million per season; a contract that would undoubtedly shake up the football universe.

The hiring of Carroll would be a bold move for an organization that's taken a downturn over the last couple of years. After finishing the 2009 season with a 5 – 11 record, the Seahawks main focus, outside of completing the Carroll deal, will be the 2010 NFL Draft.

If Carroll becomes head coach of the Seahawks, there's no question that he will have input on the Seahawks draft plan, as he's recruited some of the top prospects and has faced many of them on the field. Not only do the Seahawks own their own first round pick (6th overall), but they also hold Denver's first round pick (14th overall), which they acquired during last year's draft in exchange for their second round pick.

The Seahawks have a lot of needs on offense and defense, the most pressing being: OT, QB, RB and S. Seattle will have an interesting decision to make with the sixth pick, as one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford or Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, may be available. However, if they decide against drafting Bradford or Clausen, and opt for an OT like Oklahoma State's Russell Okung, a scenario to keep an eye on may deal with the Seahawks trading for Arizona Cardinals QB Matt Leinart, as Matt Hasselbeck's days in Seattle are numbered.

Reuniting Carroll and Leinart in Seattle has an interesting twist. Leinart has been a major disappointment in Arizona since being drafted in the first round (10th overall) of the 2006 draft. Under Carroll at USC, Leinart was a two-time QB of the Year, a Heisman Trophy Winner and a National Champion. Leinart has failed to display the ability he showcased during his historic run at USC in his four years with the Cardinals, and there's been mention that the Cardinals are ready to look in another direction for their next franchise quarterback.

If the Cardinals are ready to sever ties with Leinart, there's no question that Carroll would urge Seattle management to make a move for his once prized pupil. The one stumbling block in a potential deal is that it would be between two division rivals. But in this case, the Cardinals have to believe that the 26-year old Leinart isn't a major threat to them. A potential deal would benefit both sides; Leinart will have a chance to get his career back on track with the man who brought him up, and the Cardinals would get a salvageable return on their first round investment in Leinart, possibly a second or third round pick in the 2010 draft.

Leinart still has two years remaining on the six-year, $50.8 million deal he signed as a rookie, and is scheduled to earn $2.485 million next season and a whopping $7.36 million in 2011.

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