Clearly, the Eagles have a huge decision on their hands. Kevin Kolb, still only 26 years of age, is drawing plenty of interest from around the league. Backup quarterbacks are rarely so talented, young, and well-coached in the NFL, and all indications point to the Eagles landing quite a bounty for the University of Houston product. However, with starter Michael Vick one of the most injury-prone passers in the game and under contract for only one more season, can the Eagles afford to trade away their only backup plan? Will the Eagles even be able to trade Kolb for draft picks in the 2011 draft? There are so many components to this decision that only the Eagles really know about, but if I were the GM, I wouldn’t allow Kolb to be easily pried away.
There’s a good chance that Vick will miss time in 2011, and if he does, the Eagles run a high risk of looking very, very stupid for trading away a quality reserve. However, since Kolb will be a free agent after this next season, trading him for value this offseason would pay dividends in the long run. The best teams always make moves for future benefit. With that said, the Eagles should not deal Kolb unless they feel confident that they can bring in another backup. The organization truly believes in Mike Kafka, but he’s not ready to start quite yet. So, the free agent route seems like the safest, most logical option for a new backup. Alex Smith is a very talented young player who has never been blessed with a good offensive coordinator. With Andy Reid and Marty Morninwheg, the Eagles could turn Smith into a starting caliber quarterback. Billy Volek is a solid, unspectacular, veteran backup who is similar in some ways to Jeff Garcia, who was a great number two option for the Eagles. Matt Moore would probably be my third option. He is another talented young guy who may thrive in Philadelphia, where he will have elite weapons and much better coaching. If the Eagles feel certain that they can land one of those three players, I would certainly trade Kolb.
I would be much happier to hold onto Kolb in 2011 if he was willing to accept the backup role once again. I wouldn’t want a disgruntled player on my team, and if he becomes too publicly outspoken, his trade value will plummet. So, if a new CBA gets done before the draft, I would certainly look to deal him. Reportedly, the Seahawks have offered their 25th overall selection for him. That doesn’t interest me especially. I’m finding that the talent pool thins out dramatically after the 18th or 19th pick. A steal may be there at 25, but I’m not willing to take that chance. I feel pretty good about Minnesota offering the 12th pick, and I’m convinced that the Eagles could trade Kolb and their second rounder to vault themselves into the top eight picks, where Cincinnati, Arizona, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Tennessee could all conceivably part with their top selection. In a Minnesota trade, the Eagles could draft Tyron Smith and Mike Pouncey in the first round, cementing the offensive line for the next eight to ten years. They could double up on defense as well, potentially landing Ryan Kerrigan and Jimmy Smith. Where things could get tricky is if a CBA is not reached by the draft, and this is of course a scenario under which players cannot be traded for draft picks. Andy Reid claims the Eagles would be open to accepting 2012 picks for Kolb under these circumstances, and I would be as well. Generally, future picks are considered to be less valuable than current year picks, and the Eagles could then get a better deal for Kolb. When all is said and done, Kolb’s wish will likely come true as he will be suiting up in a different uniform in 2011.