Will Singletary be able to ‘recruit’ Warner to 49ers?

What is the role of a coach in “recruiting” free agents?

That question was asked of me a couple times since the opening of the free-agent signing period. Is this an area in which 49ers coach Mike Singletary will excel? After all, what self-respecting player who loves a challenge wouldn’t want to play for the Hall of Fame linebacker?


In personal emails and a question posed to me on Facebook, I completely dismissed any impact Singletary would have in that area.


After all, I reasoned, it’s all about money. If the 49ers offer more money than another team, they’ll get their player. If they don’t offer more money, then the player will go somewhere else. Only after a player signs with the 49ers (for more money) will he say, “It wasn’t about the money; I chose the 49ers because I want to be a part of something special here with Mike Singletary.”


That’s my answer, and I’m sticking to it . . . well, kind of.


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Free-agent quarterback Kurt Warner is still scheduled to visit the 49ers Monday. He has reason to feel a little uneasy about the way negotiations have gone with the Cardinals.


And, now that I think about it, it is possible Singletary could have a big influence on Warner’s decision. If Warner, indeed, arrives at the 49ers’ team offices, all bets are off.


Singletary is a very impressive man; we all know that. His motivational powers are immense. How will he hit it off with Warner? Singletary and Warner are very public in their expressions of faith. I have to believe when/if they sit down together, they are going to talk about a lot more than football.


Warner, more than anything else, wants to be wanted. While Warner’s return to the Cardinals is still the most logical resolution, this might be the one situation where Singletary’s powers as a recruiter could land him a significant free-agent addition.


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A Warner interview aired on ESPN this evening. Trey Wingo asked the questions. Here is what was asked about his current situation . . .


Q: You said you want to be the Cardinals quarterback, they said they want you back. Why aren’t you the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback?

Warner: “I have no idea (laughs). I think we believed it would be a lot easier than this because all the factors are there and everything seemed like a perfect marriage. I think we’re kind of in that situation right now where we’re like, ‘Why haven’t we gotten this done yet?’ “


Q: The phrase you’ve used more than once is ‘I want fair market value for a top quarterback.’ Clearly your play demands that. The reports are that the Cardinals have offered $10 to $12 million a season. In your mind, what is fair market value for Kurt Warner?

Warner: “You know, I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m still trying to figure out what that number is that I’m comfortable with. You see the numbers for the top quarterbacks in the league and you see where the Cardinals are (in cap space) and it’s probably somewhere in the middle just because I can see where I can justify making what the top guys make based on the way I’ve played the last couple years.”


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The Arizona Republic has reported the Cardinals’ last offer to Warner was $20 million for two years – or Matt Hasselbeck money.


The franchise number is what Mark Bartelstein, Warner’s agent, is reportedly seeking. The average of the top-10 top-5 paid QBs in the league last year was $14.651. The cap figures for the top-paid QBs in the league in 2008 were:


Peyton Manning $18.7 million

Tom Brady $14.62 million

Carson Palmer $13.98 million

Aaron Rodgers $13.95 million

Brett Favre $12 million

Eli Manning $11.42 million

Jake Delhomme $10.96 million

Matt Hasselbeck $9.95 million

David Garrard $9.48 million

Donovan McNabb $9.35 million


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Warner has never made more than $8 million in any one NFL season during his nine-year career. His average salary in four seasons with the Cardinals was $5 million.


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