By Justin Adkins:
Even under the spectre of labor armageddon, the NFL rumor mill chugs along full speed ahead, so it’s no surprise that whispers about trade offers for Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb are continuing to bubble up. We speculated just a couple weeks ago on multiple destinations and trade scenarios for Kolb based on Adam Schefter’s report of three teams interested in the soon-to-be fifth year player.
The latest one comes from Peter King, who says a source told him Sunday at the NFL meetings that a team is willing to trade a first round pick for Kolb, and that Andy Reid is waiting to see if anyone else with a higher pick is willing to trump the deal.
That’s a solid rumor.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the labor mess means that no matter what a team wants to do right now, no trades can be completed until a new CBA is agreed on or an injunction is granted blocking the lockout. The earliest the latter happens is April 6, when a judge will hear the motion put forth by the former NFLPA seeking to end the lockout based on anti-trust violations. If an injunction is granted, football activities will likely reconvene while the CBA agreement is worked on in the courts. Of course, that’s only a possibility, and the NFL would likely appeal and fight any ruling not in their favor, so the lockout could still continue on indefinitely.
With the draft happening at the end of April, there isn’t a lot of time. And if the draft comes and goes without a CBA, the Eagles will probably be much less willing to deal Kolb; they’d be better off keeping him in case Mike Vick gets broken on the field or commits another Vick-esque crime and gets run out of the league rather than unloading Kolb for future, indeterminate picks.
Right now, Kolb’s value is probably at its peak. There are no sure fire quarterbacks in this draft, with Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert the consensus top two (and not necessarily in that order), and neither are seen as the type of prospect Andrew Luck would have been if he came out. And even if they were, there are more than two teams who need immediate help at quarterback, so demand greatly exceeds supply right now.
And even in a draft with high-end, can’t miss-type QB prospects, it’s still dangerous to take a complete unknown.
On the other hand, Kolb has been in the league for four years and at 26 is just hitting his prime. He’s started multiple games, and while he’s looked far from perfect, he’s also playing incredibly well, demonstrating the skills needed to start for a long time in the NFL. He may never be an elite, Hall of Fame-type, but he’s got the mental makeup and the physical skills to effectively lead a talented team deep into the playoffs.
And that ability is extremely valuable.
The reason this discussion doesn’t occur very often is simply because not many teams are willing to trade talented starting-caliber quarterbacks, with experience, in their prime. And this year, Kolb’s value is even higher simply because of the combination of teams who need a quarterback and the lack of multiple elite prospects in the draft. And there certainly aren’t any other young starters available in free agency (when it starts).
So it’s not a surprise to hear a team is willing to give up a first, with some citing Seattle as a possibility. That could be the case, but they just gave up multiple picks for Charlie Whitehurst and to see them spend even more, higher picks not long after that would be a bit surprising. And even if it’s true, with Seattle’s pick being in the late 20’s, it makes sense for the Eagles to hold out a bit. A team like Minnesota, who picks at 12, likely won’t have a shot at Newton or Gabbert, so maybe they’ll smartly decide to take that pick and secure their future at the position by trading it for Kolb. Their offense is set aside from the quarterback position, and they’d still have other early picks in the second and third rounds to dedicate to beefing up their defense.
We’ve already made the case that the Eagles should keep Kolb and instead sell high on Vick, but if they’re insistent on staying with their current course, turning an extraneous player into a potential high pick for their defense or O-line is as good as we can hope for.
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