The national sport-media's speculation concerning the future of the Eagles' quarterback trio has muddled down to near oblivion. What once was the media focal point of the entire NFL offseason has been tabled to a side-bar segue for a commercial intermission.
What does it take to unload a quarterback in the NFL today?
What's Happening Now
It's not exactly a "Jetsons-paced" free agency, but deals are getting done and third string quarterbacks from Surfside, USA are being exchanged for multiple draft picks. If Andy Reid can get a fifth round pick for Greg Lewis and a sixth round pick for Reggie Brown, why can't he get better value for one of the Eagles' three "starting-caliber" quarterbacks?
"I’m listening [to offers] out there,’’ Reid said during the NFC coaches breakfast Wednesday morning. "I’m not saying I’m doing anything. But we’re keeping our ears open."
Well, maybe some coaches saw something in San Diego's Charlie Whitehurst with his five preseason exploits, but haven't any of the coaches seen anything from the tandem of pro-bowlers in McNabb and Vick?
Do the Eagles even have a price tag on McNabb and/or Kolb?
Are they asking too much for Michael Vick?
If we believe the pundits, the Eagles are looking for a first round pick for McNabb and two first round picks for Kolb. The word on Vick is that the Eagles are looking for a second or possibly a third round pick.
That is all exclusively hearsay.
The early buzz was that the Broncos (Traded for Brady Quinn), Browns (Signed Jake Delhomme), and Bills (TBD) were looking at the Eagles quarterback buffet. The Rams were suspected of inquiring about the menu as well.
The more recent rumor was Seattle (traded for Whitehurst) hounding the Eagles front office for a quarterback which may have been true or just possibly misdirection. There was obviously some truth to a discussion of sorts as a deal of a different nature was made—Darryl Tapp for Clemons and a fourth rounder.
Some action at least!
It makes me wonder if the rumor about Gocong to the Browns wasn't a smoke screen for an alternative discussion about the quarterbacks or if it was a tangent development as such.
Back to the point;
The problem with the aforementioned teams is that they are all in rebuilding mode. Therefore, veteran quarterback encampments do not realistically equate to wholesale winning—maybe a stir among the fan base though.
Reportedly, the heavy interest was for Kevin Kolb and his young veteran promise. Hopefully for good reason, the Eagles are asking for two first round picks to basically take him off the market and redirect inquiries to a quarterback that they want to deal.
It's more than doubtful that a team that has a solid shot at landing Bradford or Clausen with one first-round pick would trade two for Kolb.
But who is going to give the Eagles a great draft pick for a quarterback?
"I'm not in any hurry... I don’t worry... we’re keeping our ears open... not saying I’m doing anything... "
Speculation about an Arizona buy-in may as well be dismissed considering their acquisition of Derek Anderson as a stand-by backup for the proclaimed starter Matt Leinhart.
At this point, Andy Reid's dogmatic statements about McNabb's security as the 2011 starter appear unfeigned and not simple posturing anyway. Still, Reid is wearing his poker face at all times.
The latest rumor that I felt had any legs was a deal to send Vick to a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has serious concerns about their quarterback's availability for 2010. Pursuant to Michael Vick's 2009 reinstatement, Mike Tomlin had expressed interest in acquiring the then free agent quarterback.
Summary and Conclusion
NFL teams are still sorting through opportunities for acquiring quarterbacks by draft and by trade. Sometimes a king's ransom is only awarded in due course. All bluff's will be called and when it get's sticky a deal may be struck.
When that dust settles a suitor should be more apparent, but it may quickly become too late to make a deal for anything more than a 2011 draft pick. Situational draft-day happenings could also inspire a preconceived or impromptu trade.
But with one season remaining for these Eagles to turn free agents, will the prospective suitors exercise patience and wait for a bidding war to avoid sacrificing draft picks?
Will they otherwise go for a big money quarterback to lead their floundering offenses for just a couple of years?
Or will they look for a veteran mentor to a prodigal youngster?
And then, is Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb mentor material?
If the potential suitors are unwilling to give desired compensation and the Eagles are unwilling to compromise, there is still opportunity to redeem value from any of these quarterbacks who may take flight by way of 2011 free agency.
First, the Eagles would benefit from having three motivated quarterbacks who are playing for a new contract in 2011. Whether on the open market or with the Eagles, they still need to impress with every opportunity if they want a big deal.
It wouldn't be the first time in Eagles history that they had to start a third-string quarterback either. A lot of insurance could go a long way.
Reid told Fox. "I'm not in any hurry to get rid of any of them. Have people talked? Yeah, people have talked. Have we listened? Yeah, we're in the process of listening. The bottom line is if I have all three of them, that's great."
That's a typical exercise in discretion from Reid—anything is possible.
The Eagles could franchise McNabb or Kolb in 2011 and then try to deal one of them (ala Matt Cassel). They could also let McNabb walk free and expect a third round compensatory pick in return—regardless of their own free agent signings.
The danger in franchising McNabb is the potential backfire that leaves the Eagles with no trade-mates and a monster contract to eat or a young quarterback to pacify.
One thing is for sure, the Eagles will have to make a tough decision on a quarterback by early 2011 at the latest.
"We’re evaluating, taking in the situation right now,’’ Reid said. "I don’t worry about [what other people are saying]. It’s an evaluation process right now... there’s [no offer] right now that I’d jump up and down about. But there has been some interest."