Mar 082011
Eagles QB Kevin Kolb

Eagles QB Kevin Kolb

By Justin Adkins

At least three teams are interested in trading for Kevin Kolb, says ESPN’s Adam Schefter.  

It’s not exactly a stretch to predict that teams will go after Kolb as the Eagles have committed to Michael Vick as their starter and indicated Kolb could be available at the right price.  Many NFL teams, as usual, have a need at quarterback so phones will be ringing.  

Kolb has shown the ability to play at a high level and is just hitting his prime so increased trade interest is a given.  Trading for a still-young veteran quarterback who has flashed star potential is generally a better idea than spending a high pick on the position since the draft is such a crapshoot, with the b-word lurking behind every selection.  Unless  you’re a team staring at a can’t-miss prospect at the top of the draft, of which there are none this year thanks to Andrew Luck remaining at Stanford, a trade for an established quarterback should always be considered.  And that’s not mentioning the fact that guys like Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell were top-of-the-draft, can’t-miss prospects as well.  And really, it’s usually only the team with the first pick that gets a crack at the very top guy, so even if Luck was in this draft, the demand for franchise quarterbacks is still greatly outweighed by the supply. 

The reason we don’t see this type of trade discussion more often is simply that this scenario just doesn’t happen.  When teams find a quarterback who can play they don’t usually entertain the idea of trading him as he enters his prime.  QB-needy teams are now in a fairly unique position of potentially securing the services of a player that can step in and start from day one without dealing with rookie-type issues.  With the win-now culture in the NFL that is tremendously valuable. 

So teams debating whether to actively pursue the short-lived Eagles starter isn’t really a story, as all teams who need a quarterback should at least be considering the option.  Schefter however implies that some teams more than others are further along in the trade discussion process, but he won’t name who they are. 

So let’s speculate. 

Arizona Cardinals — The Cardinals quarterback situation is a wreck.  They have Derek Anderson, who is likely getting cut, leaving second year players John Skelton and Max Hall, who both showed in 2010 that they are likely career clipboard-carriers at best.  Arizona has many needs to fill after seeing a number of talented free agents depart following the 2009 season, but it all starts at the top. 

Now, the Cardinals hold the fifth pick in the draft, and they will not be giving that up for Kolb alone.  But the Eagles are unlikely to settle for a second-rounder, even a high one like Arizona has.  A possibility could be a package of Kolb and the Eagles own first-round pick, number 23, for Arizona’s number five.  Teams don’t normally move from the top five to the 20’s, but if a quarterback the Cardinals like isn’t there at five, it would be smart to trade back in the first and secure the services of a veteran like Kolb, who is pretty much a safer option anyway.  

A Kolb plus 23 for five deal would put Kolb’s value at around the 17 or 18 spot in the first round, based on the NFL’s draft pick value chart.  And while some may view that as high, it should be viewed as fair for a team that is hesitant to take a risk on a high pick quarterback who is just as likely to bust out of the NFL as become a star.  That said, the Eagles would probably have to include another pick as well, at least a fourth rounder, or maybe next year’s third. 

For the Eagles, that deal would be killer because they would get a top five pick and still have their second rounder.  The latter could be used on an offensive lineman, specifially a right guard, which would work well value-wise since there really isn’t a top-5 worthy offensive tackle in this draft.  It wouldn’t make sense to address the O-line need at five, but there are definitely other players that would be available to fill other, equally glaring needs.  

Players such as LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson if he falls out of the top four (fingers crossed, Eagles fans), or one of the stud defensive tackles in Auburn’s Nick Fairley or Alabama’s Marcel Dareus.  Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara could also make sense there.  Or the team could could get really crazy and take possibly the safest player in the draft, one who could have an immediate impact and provide an identity to a defense that desperately needs it — Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller.  

OK, we know that’s crazy talk.  It’s well known the Eagles would never spend that high a pick on a lowly linebacker.  Unfortunately. 

San Francisco 49ers — Not long after being hired, new 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said the team’s quarterback of the future was not currently on the team.  With Alex Smith a bust and needing a fresh start somewhere else if he ever hopes to resurrect anything resembling a career, and the painfully average Troy Smith not even being offered a restricted free agent tender, it’s safe to say that San Francisco is targeting a quarterback. 

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