Kevin Kolb: Which Teams Are Showing the Most Interest to Date?
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One of the biggest stories of the 2011 offseason has been the fate of Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb. After spending his first three seasons behind Donovan McNabb and the better part of a fourth season behind Michael Vick, Kolb could finally get his chance to become a franchise quarterback.
Unfortunately, the NFL lockout has temporarily taken away the Eagles' ability to trade Kolb. It's looking increasingly likely that player trades will not be allowed again until after the draft, which could throw a monkey wrench into the Eagles' offseason plans. Teams that normally would have paid top dollar for Kolb may instead opt to satisfy their QB needs as soon as possible by gambling on a rookie like Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton or Jake Locker.
Still, the general consensus is that Kolb will be playing for another team by the start of the 2011 regular season. There are plenty of organizations that have shown an interest in the young quarterback and, as Eagles president Joe Banner told Yahoo! Sports, "They are the teams people are guessing [they might be]."
Of course, quarterback-needy teams such as the Titans, 49ers, Dolphins and Redskins have often been mentioned as potential landing spots for Kolb, but four teams have stood above the rest when it comes to showing their interest.
Let's take a closer look at those teams.
The Cincinnatti Bengals
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Carson Palmer is finished in Cincinnati. After a miserable 4-12 season, Palmer had had enough, declaring, "I will never set foot in Paul Brown Stadium again."
While the lockout currently prohibits the Bengals from making any personnel moves, including trading or releasing Palmer, the writing is on the wall for the once-promising quarterback. He has already created too much of a rift between himself and the Bengals organization to remain a part of the team.
Left with virtually no talent at their most important position, the Bengals will be hunting for a quarterback this offseason. Add that to the fact that former Eagles quarterbacks coach James Urban is now the wide receivers coach for the Bengals and you have a strong case for Kolb packing his bags for Cincinnati.
The Minnesota Vikings
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With Brett Favre all but certain to stay retired (where have we heard that line before?) and Joe Webb still developing as a quarterback, the Vikings need a stable presence under center if they expect to return to playoff form.
New Head Coach Leslie Frazier appears to be weighing his options when it comes to adding quarterbacks, telling Minneapolis StarTribune reporter Judd Zulgad that "you’d have to consider a guy like Kevin [Kolb] if he becomes available."
The Vikings have plenty of ammo, with the 12th overall pick and a veteran quarterback like Tarvaris Jackson, to sweeten the deal. However, they may have to resort to dealing their 2012 picks if a new CBA isn't in place by draft day.
The Seattle Seahwks
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After somehow managing to make the playoffs last season, despite a 7-9 record, the Seahawks find themselves with room for improvement. One of their biggest holes is at quarterback, with Matt Hasselbeck turning 36 in September and Charlie Whitehurst failing to prove that he's starter material.
Sitting at pick No. 25 in this year's draft doesn't give the Seahawks a lot of options at quarterback. Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be long gone by then and a player like Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett would be a stretch.
"Anybody coming through Andy [Reid's] program has been through a great system, great coaching and leadership. That adds to the value of a player rather than a guy who is coming fresh out of college."
Strong words coming from a head coach who is all but certain to add a quarterback or two to his roster this offseason. Rumor has it that a mystery team has already offered the Eagles a first round pick for Kolb (when trades resume) and the Seahawks are the prime suspect.
The Arizona Cardinals
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Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton are, sadly, three names that don't inspire even the tiniest bit of confidence. Granted, Hall and Skelton were rookies last year who were thrown in way over their heads, but the fact remains that Arizona's quarterback position simply hasn't been the same since Kurt Warner's retirement.
Armed with the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft, the Cardinals will have a good chance of snagging either Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert, if they desire.
Even though suitable veteran quarterbacks such as Donovan McNabb and Marc Bulger will be available when free agency starts again, the Cardinals organization seems destined to land Kolb. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has already recommended Kolb to head coach Ken Whisenhunt and Whisenhunt appears to be very open to player suggestions, telling the Arizona Republic:
"We have an open-door policy. We solicit input from players on a lot of things, game plans, plays, travel to the East Coast. Things in training camp. When I was interviewed (in 2007), they had players who were a portion of the interviews...Larry and I talked about a number of things. I've talked to other players as well...It would not make sense to at least talk to some of your players."
Kolb, for his part, has expressed his admiration of Fitzgerald and his desire for the two to work together in Arizona. In a February interview with WIP, Kolb admitted that he was flattered that the Cardinals superstar had recommended him:
"I mean, if he's not the best, he's one of the best receivers in the NFL, superstar. For a guy like that to say something about me, it means a lot. And it's awfully flattering, and I hope that if something happens, their name comes up."
Sounds like a match made in heaven.