Lost in some of the buzz around the NFL combine last week and the ongoing labor negotiations between the owners and the players' association have been trade rumors surrounding Kevin Kolb.
Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles had the luxury of two starting-caliber quarterbacks, but a number of factors have made it increasingly likely the Eagles will deal Kolb before the draft this year.
The first, and most obvious, is Michael Vick. It became evident around the time that Vick was destroying the Washington Redskins on Monday night that the Eagles had no choice but to bring him back, and they did just that by slapping the franchise tag on him this offseason.
Barring injury, which is admittedly no small risk for a running quarterback like Vick, Kolb won't see the field this coming year. That means the team can either deal him now or risk him leaving at the end of the season without receiving any compensation.
Beyond that, though, conditions are prime for the Eagles to exact a high price for Kolb right now. The team is reportedly demanding a first- and third-round pick in return, a seemingly high price for a quarterback who has looked inconsistent in seven starts over four years. However, a number of teams looking for a quarterback may have no choice but to consider the Eagles' demands.
This year's draft class lacks a can't-miss signal caller. Cam Newton is unpolished, Blaine Gabbert is unproven, Ryan Mallett is unstable and other players like Christian Ponder and Jake Locker all carry serious questions marks. It's unlikely that a team in need of a quarterback and picking as high as Carolina, San Francisco or Tennessee would deal such a valuable pick for Kolb.
But teams drafting lower in the first round, like Minnesota, Miami or Seattle, might well conclude that Kolb is a much better prospect than any other quarterback they could likely draft at that juncture.
Another team of interest is the Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt is under pressure to turn around what some feel is a sinking team, and is unlikely to hitch his wagon to a rookie quarterback. Larry Fitzgerald has also publicly requested that the team sign or trade for a veteran passer.
Though it still seems unlikely that the Cardinals would trade the fifth overall pick for Kolb, let alone throw in another draft choice, they remain a team to watch.
The Eagles enjoyed the luxury last year of being able to rotate quarterbacks in the event of injuries, and both Kolb and Vick spent time healing on the bench. But this year, with obvious holes to fill along the offensive line and in the secondary, the team would do well to capitalize on an extremely valuable trade chip, made all the more so by the current circumstances.
Trading Kolb now, while his value is at its peak, will best set up the Eagles to field a potential Super Bowl team with Michael Vick.
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