Holy Moley! Kurt Warner Visits 49ers Monday

The 49ers have been meek in free agency thus far, but now they may be looking to inherit the earth.

Kurt Warner, the three-time Super Bowl quarterback known for his deep downfield accuracy and his even deeper Christian faith, visited 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara Monday. Warner had been offered a 2-year, $20 million contract by the Arizona Cardinals, but he's seekeng a slightly more eternal reward. Warner is reportedly asking for $14 million per year.

This has to be a huge disappointment for those of you looking forward to that epic Shaun Hill-Alex Smith battle in training camp. And it's a surprise, as the 49ers had successfully smokescreened that they were actually content to let Smith and Hill battle it out. But it may be good football strategy, because it deprives the Cardinals of arguably their best player. Even with Kurt Warner, the Cardinals finished only two games ahead of the 49ers in the NFC West.

Aside from the thrill of weakening a divisional opponent, it may not make much football sense to throw nearly $30 million at Kurt Warner and expect him to duplicate his 96.9 quarterback rating and top-three NFL quarterback status he enjoyed in 2008. Warner is now 38.

It would be difficult for him to throw for 4,500 yards in one season again with receivers like  Arnaz "Who?" Battle and the AARP-card-carrying Isaac Bruce. These 49ers just canned Warner's old buddy Mike Martz, and the Singletary administration seems singularly devoted to the running game. Warner, if he had his way, would take every snap from the shotgun.

Warner has told the Arizona media, "My mind-set is that if I'm going to play, I don't want it to be anywhere else." But he is going to play, and today he's somewhere else. Was he bearing false witness? Maybe, or maybe an extra $4 million per year makes the Ten Commandments a lttle more flexible.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who covets Kurt Warner's salary.

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