Where Will He End Up?

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Kordell Stewart will be wearing a different uniform next season, likely as somebody's starter.<br><br> The only questions now are: Where exactly is Stewart going to end up and what, if anything, can the Steelers get for their former Pro Bowl QB?<br><br>

The Steelers got something of a late Christmas present when the quarterbacks - save No. 1-overall pick Carson Palmer - looked mediocre at the Senior Bowl last week.  Sure, Byron Leftwich wasn't there, but there are enough questions about the former Marshall star that teams aren't going to risk banking on him, as well as the rest of the quarterbacks in this draft, to be their future.

And that is where Stewart can step in.  Right now, you'd have to put the Stewart sweepstakes as a race between Carolina, Chicago, and Arizona, with slight interest from Baltimore, Kansas City, Dallas, or Denver if the price were right.

In Carolina, John Fox has already given up on Chris Weinke as the team's future and Rodney Peete is far, far over the hill. The Panthers would have to be considered the front-runners for Stewart.

Chicago, after suffering through a season with oft-injured Jim Miller and Chris Chandler, could certainly use a player of Stewart's talents. They have good receivers, a good defense, and a decent running game; and adding Stewart to the mix could propel them back into the playoffs in 2003.

In Arizona, they've grown tired of Jake "The Mistake" Plummer's antics and are ready to go in a different direction. Word is that they like Josh McNown, whom they drafted last season, but it's doubtful they would want to hand him the job in just his second year.

Everyone has heard Baltimore, Kansas City, Dallas, and Denver offered as possible spots for Stewart to land, but all are less likely than the above three for different reasons.

Baltimore is in a state of confusion over Chris Redman's back problems and Jeff Blake's inconsistencies. But, unless all other offers fall through, it's doubtful the Steelers would want to trade Stewart to a division opponent, lest they end up with egg on their face.

Although Kansas City's Trent Green had a good 2002 season with little help from his receivers, his salary will jump considerably and the Chiefs may want to cut bait. But Stewart really doesn't fit into the style of offense Dick Vermeil wants to run in KC. The bet here is that the Chiefs work out some kind of deal with Green.

Had the Cowboys not hired Bill Parcells to be their new head coach and given him more power than previous coaches, Stewart may have ended up in Dallas. But Stewart doesn't seem to be a Parcells kind of quarterback. The Cowboys may choose instead to wait and see if Denver does indeed cut Brian Griese loose and go after him instead. Parcells is rumored to be interested in Jets' backup Vinny Testeverde, but it would take some work to make that deal happen.

Speaking of Griese and Denver, head coach Mike Shanahan has run out of patience with the oft-strangely-injured QB and will let him go after June 1. Denver still has over-the-hill Steve Buerlein on the roster and may try to draft a youngster and try to bridge the gap. Again, even though he is a Colorado University grad, Stewart doesn't really fit into the kind of offense Shanahan runs.  Plummer could be a possibility in Denver, though.

--Dale Lolley

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