Is Kevin Kolb worth the risk?

Kevin Kolb (Getty)

Quarterback Kevin Kolb was a risk when the Cardinals acquired him last year from the Eagles. As it stands now, he remains a risk after his first season in Arizona.

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Kevin Kolb is still a risk.

Kolb was a risk when the Arizona Cardinals acquired him last year from the Philadelphia Eagles. And he still is.

The Cardinals made a splash in the offseason when they acquired the services of Kolb, arguably the most desirable quarterback available at the time. Several teams needed help under center, but Arizona came away with its main target and was set to bounce back from a dismal 2010 campaign.

Then the season started and Kolb's misfortune began. And just like what had happened in Philadelphia before, Kolb was out in a flash.

See, this isn't the first time Kolb has been marred by injuries – particularly concussions. In 2010, after the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb, Kolb was handed the keys to the offense. But like last year in Arizona, Kolb surrendered those keys to Michael Vick due to a concussion and Vick never gave them back.

Kolb has had two chances to solidify himself as a starting quarterback in the NFL, and so far he's batting 0-2. John Skelton came off the bench a year ago and proved he's no slouch. In fact, many would say Arizona was better with Skelton at the helm. Now, with Peyton Manning possibly available, the Cardinals must take a hard look at Kolb and determine whether he's worth the risk to keep around.

Looking at Kolb's body of work leaves much to be desired. Yes, he's a stand up guy and shoots things straight like the native Texan that he is, but his statistics on the field are concerning. In seven games with the Eagles in 2010, Kolb had a QB rating of just 76.1, throwing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Kolb's 2011 numbers were very similar as he compiled at 81.1 QB rating while throwing nine touchdowns compared to eight interceptions.

Peyton Manning

Although many were quick to tab Kolb as the NFL's next franchise quarterback, he might just be an average quarterback – like his numbers suggest.

Manning, on the other hand, is not average. Manning is a known commodity, and even if he failed miserably, no one would fault the decision to bring him here. Manning would bring a buzz to Arizona that's never been experienced before and would instantly make the team a playoff contender – perhaps even a favorite to make a deep postseason run.

Should Manning actually become available and the Cardinals pass, keeping Kolb would be a decision that puts the Cards' brass on the spot. If Kolb struggles through another injury-plagued season, chances are good that Arizona will miss the playoffs for a third straight year. Sure, Skelton would continue his development but as refreshing as Skelton's performance has been, he could easily be considered one of the most underwhelming starting quarterbacks in the league.

While the Cardinals made a strong finish in 2011, another botched playoff run will leave jobs on the line, including coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves among a host of others. Do they really want to leave their fate in the hands of Kolb?

Yes, it would be hard to give up on Kolb so soon. He is guaranteed $21 million from the Cardinals regardless of what happens and is due a $7 million roster bonus in mid-March. But let's be honest, had Kolb not been signed to a contract of that magnitude, that cap space might have been used elsewhere, meaning the Cards really aren't out that much.

Factor in that Manning is reportedly willing to take an incentive-based contract with little guaranteed money, and it could be the perfect marriage for both parties.

If the opportunity to acquire Manning presents itself, it might be time for Arizona to cut its losses with Kolb and put itself in a better position to win. That's exactly what bringing Manning to the desert would do.

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Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at

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