If the lockout is lifted, the buzz surrounding the 2011 NFL season will focus on free agency and trades.
The hottest name on the market seems to be Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb. With the return to form of Michael Vick, the Eagles have the flexibility to trade Kolb, and plenty of teams are in desperate need of a quarterback.
With an expected asking price of a future first-round draft pick, teams would be better off looking elsewhere for their next field general. Here's why.
In limited playing time in 2010, Kolb tossed seven interceptions and seven touchdowns; he has just 11 touchdowns to 14 interceptions throughout his career.
While his potential is unlimited, trading a first-round pick for "potential" is not a smart move. There are plenty of other quarterbacks who could fit the bill, have better numbers and would be much cheaper.
Before you scoff, take a look at what this free agent has to offer. Matt Hasselbeck is a proven veteran in this league, and besides age, he has plenty of advantages over Kolb.
Hasselbeck has experience playing on the big stage in the NFL, and he would be the perfect fit for a team that is looking to win now while they groom a young quarterback for the future.
As a free agent, his asking price is low, and he is unselfish, which would allow other star players to take the spotlight.
Marc Bulger is another veteran who is ready to play and available on the free agent market. Bulger has experience playing with a high-flying offense, and could add accuracy and a solid arm to any offense.
In his career he has chucked 122 touchdowns to just 93 interceptions and would be a fine addition to a team that is one piece away from competing for a Super Bowl.
Free agency is not the only avenue to acquire a quarterback. Many teams have made it clear they would be willing to trade their quarterback in the offseason.
Although the Bengals swear they will not trade Carson Palmer, the relationship is over. If the price is right, Palmer will be shipped out of town.
With a mediocre 2010 team, Palmer posted nearly 4,000 yards while connecting for 26 touchdowns. As the season gets closer, this relationship will only get uglier, and the Bengals may be forced to trade Palmer to another team if they want to get anything in return.
Teams could acquire Palmer for less than a first-round draft pick and in return get a quarterback with a chip on his shoulder who is ready to win.
Orton showed that in the right offense he can flourish, and he has had a successful run with the Broncos. In his two years for the Broncos he passed for 41 touchdowns with just 21 interceptions and eclipsed at least 3,600 yards each year.
Before going after Kolb, teams should make a call to the Denver Broncos. Orton may not be the only available Broncos quarterback.
If the Broncos decide to keep both Tebow and Orton, Brady Quinn could sign elsewhere as a free agent.
For those teams that prefer a young quarterback over a veteran, Quinn could fill in nicely. He has only started five less games than Kolb, and he has passed for more touchdowns than interceptions (10-9).
This would satisfy the desire for teams interested in Kolb for his potential and his age.
The knock on Young is simple; he has some off-the-field problems and could be considered a risky proposition for any team willing to take a chance on him.
But in the right place, Young could excel.
He needs a coach who will be willing to work with him, and a change of atmosphere could work wonders. Young adds another dimension Kolb does not have as a mobile quarterback. If he matures and focuses on the game, he could have more upside than Kolb.
Kevin Kolb was drafted by the Eagles as the heir apparent to Donovan McNabb, yet they still took a chance on Michael Vick. Maybe the upside for Vick was just too much to pass up, but it could be seen as the Eagles lost confidence in Kolb.
Now Kolb is on the block and the hottest quarterback in the market. While he may turn out to be a great quarterback in the league, he has yet to show it on the field.
With a steep asking price, any team that takes a chance on Kolb may regret it for years to come, especially with the quarterback situation throughout the league going into this season.
James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist. Feel free to contact James at email@example.com.