It’s amazing how unpredictable life can be, especially in the world of sports.
This has definitely been the case for the Philadelphia Eagles lately.
During the 2007 NFL Draft, no one expected the Eagles to trade out of the first round, especially with the Dallas Cowboys, and no one expected them to make quarterback Kevin Kolb their first pick in the second round.
Fast forward to 2009: no one expected the Eagles to sign Michael Vick three weeks after he was released from federal prison.
Signing Vick gave the Eagles three starting-caliber quarterbacks with Vick, Kolb and Donovan McNabb. At the time, no one expected McNabb to the be the first to leave, especially to go to the Washington Redskins.
With McNabb gone and Vick not quite in football shape, the Eagles were finally going to transition to the Kolb era. Before halftime of the first game of the 2010 regular season though, he was in the locker room with a concussion.
Vick was undoubtedly an electrifying player with the Atlanta Falcons, but no one can honestly say they expected him to be that good in 2010. After a near-MVP performance, the Eagles can ill afford to let Vick go now. Unfortunately for Kolb, that means he is going to continue clipboard duties for Philadelphia.
I’m sure the former University of Houston star wishes he could predict when the NFL and NFLPA will agree on a new CBA, but until that happens, the Eagles can’t trade him. If a deal isn’t reached before the draft, it’s going to be even harder to move him.
Let’s assume the NFL and the players union actually sit down and negotiate a deal before mid-April. What can the Eagles get in return for Kolb?
It has been said the Eagles' front office won’t let Kolb go for less than two first-round picks. Fans and the media think they’re insane, but we know their negotiating strategy is to start high and work their way down, as they did with McNabb last year.
Nearly two months ago, I predicted Kolb would be traded to the Tennessee Titans for their first and third-round picks. Of course the responses included many "LOL's", but but at the time, I predicted the Titans would finish stronger to get a later pick.
Why can’t the Eagles get a first-round pick for Kolb?
Is it because his arm isn’t as strong as McNabb’s or Vick's? Is it because he has thrown his share of interceptions? Or is it because his offensive line hasn’t given him enough time to show what he can do from the pocket?
These are all valid points, and a first-round pick is a lot for a team to invest in a trade for Kolb, but it's not unrealistic to think a team won't overspend for him.
The reason for this is based on the fact that there are quite a few head coaches who will enter the 2011 season (if there is one) on the hot seat.
In Tennessee, Jeff Fisher convinced owner Bud Adams to exclude Vince Young from any future plans. Adams has made it clear though that Fisher needs to produce a contender sooner rather than later.
The Arizona Cardinals have shown how quickly a team can drop with the departure of a quality signal-caller. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is in talks for a new contract, but coach Ken Whisenhunt can’t afford to trust John Skelton to be the one throwing to him.
Down in Florida, the Miami Dolphins pursued Jim Harbaugh even though they never dismissed Tony Sparano. Think he feels comfortable with Chad Henne starting for him?
These coaches aren’t going to rely on free agents like Marc Bulger, Matt Leinart or Tavaris Jackson to save their jobs, and thanks to Andrew Luck, there’s no quarterback in the draft expected to be an NFL starter in September.
The San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings both need quarterbacks, but new coaches Jim Harbaugh and Leslie Frazier won’t be as desperate as the previous three teams mentioned. They will be interested in Kolb as long as a first-round pick isn’t involved.
At age 27 with his salary dropping to $1.4 million, Kolb may be the most sought after quarterback this offseason.
How much are teams willing to give up for him, and what are the Eagles really willing to accept?
Hopefully, we’ll find out sooner than expected.