NFL Trade Rumors: Kevin Kolb's 10 Most Likely Landing Spots
Kevin Kolb of the Philadelphia Eagles has been sacked many times in his football career, but the one that hurt him the most wasn't delivered by a defensive end.
It wasn't even delivered by an opposing player. It was delivered by his own teammate.
By virtue of his brilliant return from prison, Michael Vick has effectively pushed Kevin Kolb out of a job. Thought to be the franchise's future quarterback just about a year ago, Kolb is now obsolete, a total afterthought to Vick.
It's clear now that Kolb has no future in Philly. The Eagles would do right by themselves and by the player if they trade him to a team that could really use him.
Here are the 10 most likely teams to land Kolb in their uniform next season, provided that there is a season.
1. Buffalo Bills
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a surprisingly good year under center for one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2010. His 3,000 passing yards, 23 TD passes and 81.8 rating stack up pretty well against the average NFL QB.
Still, he is no long-term answer for the Bills. He started in relief of Trent Edwards, played better and then held the job by default for the rest of the season.
The Bills have some decent pieces in place on offense and need to unite them with a good signal caller. The Bills are in the bottom third of the league in payroll and could easily take on Kolb's reasonable cap figure.
2. San Francisco 49ers
What's the first thing that a former QB is going to do when taking over a team that doesn't have a good QB?
Secure the team a good QB, naturally.
The two Smiths are short-term options, if not stopgaps. The biggest factor holding this team back is the void at quarterback. The offensive line is improving, and the defense consistently ranks at the top in yards allowed and is brimming with talent.
Kolb's game isn't totally formed yet, so he could conform to whatever kind of playbook Jim Harbaugh implements. Plus, their union would be mutually beneficial: Harbaugh starts his NFL career with a legitimate quarterback (instead of Troy and Alex Smith), while Kolb gets a secure starting job under the tutelage of a former QB.
The reason that this is a long shot is that the Niners are not likely to shell out the money to take on Kolb's salary because the team is already strapped financially.
3. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders, by virtue of scoring the sixth-most points in the NFL last season, might hesitate to overhaul the QB position with an "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude.
Jason Campbell, the incumbent starter, somehow led the team to an explosive 25.6 points per game (I know, the Raiders!) despite some pedestrian numbers. His 13:8 TD:INT ratio, 2,387 passing yards and 59 percent completion rate are all below the capability of Kolb.
The Raider success on offense clearly was not a result of the team's quarterback play, which makes me wonder how much more efficient and dangerous they could be with a strong quarterback.
In a long shot, Kolb could end up in Oakland because this does, at the end of the day, make sense.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
It's no secret that Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati, but Bengals owner Mike Brown has said that he will not trade Palmer because he is central to the team's plans.
It's anyone's guess as to a) what a perennial doormat coming off a 4-12 season has in the way of plans, and b) whether Brown will stick to his guns when the heat ratchets up as Palmer gets louder about his discontent.
Why not get out in front of the situation while you still have leverage and trade or release Palmer? Once teams that are interested in him smell desperation, they won't budge an inch, and the potential return will shrink every day.
Palmer is a good NFL QB, or at least he was in the past. His positives (3,970 yards, 26 TD) are negated by his crazy turnover rate (20 INT). Plus, he's unhappy in Cincy.
This would obviously represent a big shift in the Bengals' plans, but it could net them a positive result AND get them a haul of draft picks and cap flexibility by shedding Palmer.
5. Minnesota Vikings
Photoshop Brett Favre out of this picture and you've got a gigantic hole, literally and metaphorically.
With Brett's retirement (which could be rescinded at any moment on his whim), the QB situation in Minnesota is problematic. Tarvaris Jackson assumes the reins to the offense, which is more depressing than being single on Valentine's Day (oh wait, that's not depressing at all!).
There's no better time to bring in a new QB like Kolb: New coach Leslie Frazier is establishing himself and shaping the team in his way, the Favre reign is over, Jackson is transitioning back to being a starter and Kolb is looking for a new home anyway.
6. Tennessee Titans
Titans owner Bud Adams said months ago that either Vince Young or Jeff Fisher would be gone next year because their relationship had grown intractable. Early indications were that Young would be the one to go.
Fisher and the team parted ways recently (Was he fired? Did he quit? Forced to resign? Does anybody know?), but Adams maintains that the Titans are looking at trade options for Vince.
I say that Bud could get a big haul for Vince via trade and then bring in Kolb to help make the transition to a new coach easier. Better to wipe the slate clean at QB and coach at the same time than to bring in a coach to deal with the apparent headache that coaching Vince Young is.
7. Washington Redskins
The Redskins, as usual, are a mess, and the clutter is piled highest at quarterback.
Donovan McNabb, the former Eagles icon, was a colossal disaster this season, his first since being traded to the 'Skins.
(By the way, whenever a former star player who has worn out his welcome but still has game gets traded to a division rival, you know there's something horrible the trading team knows about him that nobody else does.)
The chances of him getting his starting job back are pretty strong, given who is ahead of him on the depth chart and the mindless extension Dan Snyder just handed him.
However, the chances of him actually being good again? Not so strong.
So unless Mike Shanahan wants to endure another year of shuffling Rex Grossman and McNabb, it's time to bring in McNabb's successor in Philly and start cleaning up the mess that he and Snyder created.
8. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are coming off a league-worst 2-14 season in which they ranked dead last in scoring with 196 points all season, just 12.3 per game.
Neither Matt Moore nor Jimmy Clausen was even serviceable when starting. Moore has the look of a decent QB, but he went out early in the season with a concussion that derailed his whole year.
He was benched after four games in favor of the rookie Clausen, which was coach John Fox's, "Hey, we're not going anywhere this season, so why not let Jimmy take his lumps and speed up his learning curve?" moment. Fox immediately lost his job when the season ended, so there's that.
Kolb comes from a winning culture in Philadelphia, and the decreased media pressure and criticism could do wonders for his confidence.
9. Arizona Cardinals
Ken Whisenhunt is a good coach. He deserves better than John Skelton and Derek Anderson at QB.
Kolb could be the answer for a team that was in the bottom five in the NFL in scoring and second-worst in passing yards, TD passes and last in completion percentage.
What they have now clearly doesn't work, and there's no guarantee that Kolb would either. Isn't it worth a try though? What do the Cards have to lose?
10. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are in desperate need of a good QB now.
The reason is not that they were at the bottom in passing categories or that they had an awful record. In fact, neither of those ideas is supported by their 2010 outcome.
The reason that the Dolphins need to upgrade at QB is precisely because they have a good team. They finished an infuriating 7-9 this season but could have been so much better.
Turnovers, Chad Henne's most notably, killed Miami this season. They ranked 30th out of 32 teams in takeaway/giveaway ratio, which Henne's 19 INT are largely responsible for.
The Dolphins have a solid running game, good line, good receivers and a great defense. They are tough and experienced in physical playoff football.
If they had a viable QB to run the show, they could easily add three to five wins to last year's total and breeze into the playoffs.