Is Kevin Kolb headed elsewhere for 2011?
Following the Philadelphia Eagles' loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round of the 2010 NFL Playoffs, former Eagles starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was questioned on his future with the team and in the league.
Despite playing the part of the good teammate all season, Kolb wasted no time in making his intentions known. Kolb said he would love to be starting at quarterback in Philadelphia next season, but if he's not, he'd much rather be starting elsewhere, rather than return as a back-up.
With the organization seemingly firmly behind Michael Vick and prepared to bring him back next season, it appears the team and the two quarterbacks are in for an awkward offseason.
After going through this same situation and choosing Kolb over long-time veteran and leader Donovan McNabb last season, everyone is right back where they started.
With the growing potential of Kolb being traded for some draft picks sometime in the near future, it's time to look at the most likely candidates.
Here are the top 10 potential suitors for Kolb going into the offseason:
Buffalo has Ryan Fitzpatrick and could also spend an early pick on a signal caller, but this is still a fit that could work and would make sense. Chan Gailey prefers athletic, mobile passers, which Kolb is not, but there's no denying his potential. Kolb's overall talent is better than Fitzpatrick's, so unless Buffalo is settled on a first round passer they could think trade here.
Where will Kolb play in 2011?
The Chad Henne era appears to be very much over in Miami, especially with Tony Sparano now locked up for the next two seasons. Tyler Thigpen is a realistic option, while the team might still revert back to Chad Pennington. The fact that Henne, Thigpen and Pennington are Miami's top options shows how serious they should be about getting an elite talent to pair with Brandon Marshall.
Philly wants two first round picks at the moment, and since they'll have a tough time finding an elite passing prospect in the middle of the pack, Miami could ponder this type of deal.
We know Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace aren't the long-term solutions, while Colt McCoy has a slightly better chance at making something happen in Cleveland. However, Mike Holmgren may not be fully convinced, and on top of that, the new head coach he brings in may want a better foundation to start with in the passing game. There were strong rumors last season putting Kolb in Cleveland, and with the team moving to a West Coast Offense, the possibility gets even stronger.
Jack Del Rio is back in the saddle, which means David Garrard is likely back under center, too. You'd think Del Rio and Co. would suck it up and admit what they've been doing (and who they've been using) just hasn't been getting it done, but they're probably not smart enough for that.
Garrard is a competent quarterback, but Kolb would be a talent upgrade. The need is there, but it's unlikely the Jaguars actually pull the trigger.
With Vince Young almost certainly on his way out, the Titans are down to Kerry Collins, Rusty Smith and Chris Simms. Truth be told, none of those quarterbacks really should be in contention for an NFL starting gig. With his job in Tennessee more on the line than ever, Jeff Fisher needs to bring in a solid quarterback and make his offense more balanced and unpredictable. Kolb isn't without flaws, but he brings more potential and big-play ability than Fisher's current group of joke quarterbacks.
This would have been the perfect fit if the Vikings weren't so focused on switching out of a West Coast Offense to who knows what. However, with rumors of Josh McDaniels possibly taking over as offensive coordinator, the actual offense may not matter anywhere close to as much as who is running it and the weapons involved.
This would be the perfect set up for Kolb, as Minnesota is done with Brett Favre, and can't really be serious about starting Joe Webb in 2011. McDaniels is a quarterback "maker," so if he lands in Minnesota, the Vikings will either draft a passer early in the 2011 NFL Draft, or they'll trade for a young guy with room to grow. Most will say Tim Tebow has first dibs here, and that may be true, but Kolb's name will definitely be floating around as well.
The Carolina Panthers hold the top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but they won't be using it on Andrew Luck. At least, we don't think. However, it's hard to believe the Panthers don't spend their top pick on a quarterback, or think about packaging that pick and several others for, say, Kevin Kolb.
The Jimmy Clausen experiment should be over in Carolina, but we also may have to wait to see who takes over before we know what kind of direction this team is headed in at quarterback. The guess here is they spend their top pick on a quarterback and bet he'll be better than Kolb.
If the Cardinals aren't already plotting of ways to pry Kolb from the Eagles, then they have less sense than many of us originally imagined. Arizona should know very well how important a good quarterback is to their team now, and absolutely has to enter the 2011 season with an upgrade at the position.
Kevin Kolb has his battles with interceptions, but there's no doubt he can outplay the likes of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton just about any day of the week. If the Cardinals can avoid losing Larry Fitzgerald and bring back Steve Breaston at the right price, the talented Kolb would walk into an offense primed for explosion.
Seattle looked mighty fine with Matt Hasselbeck under center in their Wild Card win over the New Orleans Saints. They even looked alright when Charlie Whitehurst was leading the way in the division-clinching Week 17 win over the St. Louis Rams the week before.
But if we're being honest, the Seahawks need to prepare for their future with an upgrade at quarterback, and there's not much of an argument that can be made to go against it. Matt Hasselbeck is aging and constantly battling injuries and inconsistency, while Whitehurst just isn't good enough to be trusted as a starter right now, and may never be.
Kolb could be the answer for a team that is already making huge strides, and would simply be missing that new face to piece it all together.
Jim Harbaugh is taking over the reigns in San Francisco, which actually could mean Alex Smith isn't quite done yet as a 49er if the former Stanford coach feels Smith can be worked with.
However, it's not overly likely that Harbaugh begins his NFL head coaching career trying to salvage Smith's career. It's not unrealistic, however, to expect him to want to go after a potential-ridden Kolb and get off to a fast start with an offense that is simply waiting for a competent and reliable passer. With Harbaugh working his quarterback magic, Kolb could be a huge part of the answer in San Francisco.
These are undoubtedly the top 10 options for Kolb while the Washington Redskins are the wild card option. However, I don't see the Eagles dealing a quarterback that could potentially kill them for years down the road to a division rival. It's clear they only unloaded Donovan McNabb to the Redskins because they felt he didn't have much left in the tank, and/or weren't worried that McNabb would sign a long-term deal.
Out of these top 10 options, the Cleveland Browns are currently my top pick. There's no insider information, just a hunch. Holmgren likes Kolb, isn't overly in love with McCoy and probably would like to see the upgrade happen. That, and after a much-publicized run at Sam Bradford in last year's NFL Draft, it wouldn't be surprising to see him make a similar attempt in trade efforts to land Kolb.