Someone will eventually win the Kevin Kolb sweepstakes. As of now, reports are surfacing that the Arizona Cardinals are at the front of the line.
The Cardinals would be a logical landing spot for Kolb, who entered 2010 as the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback. However, things didn’t pan out for Kolb, as an early concussion and the reemergence of Michael Vick ended his brief stint under center.
Now, with Vick locked up for the 2011 season – and a long-term extension expected in the future – the Eagles are dangling Kolb to a group of quarterback-hungry teams.
There are a few reasons why the Eagles would hang onto Kolb, but the rationale to trade the soon to be fifth-year quarterback presents a stronger case.
While Vick excelled during the past season, his spirited comeback could use another year to solidify his status in Philadelphia. Good quarterbacks – especially young ones – are difficult to find and with Vick’s potential for injuries, Kolb stands as an excellent insurance policy.
Kolb’s value, however, may be at an all-time high. Kolb has already been groomed by coach Andy Reid – whose known for his ability to develop young quarterbacks – to start in the NFL. Kolb will be 27 years old by the time the 2011 season commences and the more he stands on the sidelines, the more his value depreciates.
So long as an adequate deal is on the table – and the lockout comes to an end – the Eagles would be hard pressed not to move Kolb this offseason. But what price is too much to pay for the Cardinals or another potential trading partner?
In Arizona's case, there might not be too high of an asking price. A brief look at roster exposes many holes but also a great deal of talent - except at quarterback.
Defensively, the Cardinals aren’t far off from being a viable group again as soon as next season. Pro Bowl caliber names such as Darnell Dockett, Adrian Wilson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie remain along with up-and- coming stars like Dan Williams and Daryl Washington.
The offensive side of the ball was the primary reason for the Cardinals’ alarming drop in play, but the unit is far better than its performance from a year ago.
The addition of Kolb would be a quick remedy to many of the issues the team faced last season. Yes, the offensive line could use a boost, but can easily be considered the most challenged unit during 2010’s disappointing campaign.
Musical chairs at quarterback – starting with the release of Matt Leinart just days before the regular season kicked off – included stints by embattled veteran Derek Anderson as well as rookies Max Hall and John Skelton. Even Richard Bartel got into the action, after serving as a backup in the UFL for the majority of the season.
Having more stability under center – something Kolb would certainly offer – could go a long way towards solving things in the trenches.
Historically, the Cardinals’ front office has been stingy when trading draft picks or making trades altogether. While rumors have connected Arizona with strong interest towards Kolb, conflicting reports have surfaced with the team’s desire to land a QB at a bargain price – similar to when Kurt Warner initially arrived in the desert.
Will Cardinals GM Rod Graves
make a move for Kolb?
Providing that Arizona’s interest in Kolb is sincere, surely they’d have the smarts to realize nothing less than a second-round pick – and probably a first-round pick – would be the least Philadelphia would be seeking in return.
Despite the Eagles asking price, the Cardinals should be willing to make a deal or at least actively listen.
Arizona doesn’t need an impact player on the defense or offense – other than at quarterback. A blend of experience and young talent exists defensively and Larry Fitzgerald along with an adequate tandem of running backs (Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower) makes for a solid core on offense.
More than anything, Arizona needs a quarterback – more specifically, a quarterback like Kolb. Kolb would instantly propel the Cardinals back into a contender in the relatively weak, but improving, NFC West division.
If the Eagles require the No. 5 overall selection in return, Arizona shouldn’t hesitate to consider it. Along with Kolb, a deal involving the Cardinals’ first-round pick could send back Philadelphia’s pick later in Round 1 (23rd overall) or the team's second-round selection (54th overall).
Even in the worst case scenario where the Eagles prefer a straight swap of the fifth overall pick for Kolb, it wouldn't be crazy for Arizona to explore. Because the Cardinals don't necessarily need an impact player elsewhere, passing on the likes of Von Miller or Patrick Peterson in the draft wouldn't be too damaging.
Arizona will be forced to make a move under center this offseason, for better or for worse. Carson Palmer or Marc Bulger would be an upgrade over the team's current options but both players are past their prime.
Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton might eventually develop in the professional ranks but are too risky with a top-five pick. Kolb, meanwhile, is an excellent in-between choice when considering the alternatives.
Kolb appears to have what it takes to help the Cardinals field a competitive team next season. Regardless of what the Eagles want in return for his services, it would be a small price to pay to make that happen.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
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