This deal actually hadn't yet been struck when I started writing, which pays me the most coveted, backhanded compliment in journalism:
For someone who vests far too much time in a single piece, you have great adaptability and news conscious.
Anyway, the Kevin Kolb sign-and-trade cracks this list because of its instant, season-altering implications for two teams.
You can't say that about the Bush-to-Dolphins deal, because it was a horrendous move for Miami, for vesting two years and $10 million in a running back who's shown no one anything to justify that consideration (or compensation).
Seriously: I gushed over the prospect of getting Bush the same way I did of Vick—contingent upon there being a next-to-nothing investment. How Bush swapped for more than Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb (even lifetime backup safety Jonathan Amaya is worth more than a fifth-rounder, or two sixths) is more than baffling. My computer just coughed a spark the second I typed that. One is the most dominant defensive player in the league (when he feels like it) and the other is a proven commodity (though it's widely disputed how valuable said commodity is; are we talking gold or cattle?).
Plus, this trade can't earn distinction here because it did nothing for the Saints. Worst-case scenario (which would be everyone including GM Jeff Ireland realizing Bush wasn't worth more than league minimum): they cut him. Just like that. Poof. Deal done. Problem solved.
Oh no, the Kevin Kolb deal had far greater implications than that. Not only does it make one team a near-lock for the NFC West's knock-knock-joke of a playoff bid (really, it's neither that funny nor tough to conjure), but it spares the other from the most awkward training camp since the Terrell Owens days.
With Kolb, the Cardinals are poised for the same renaissance they enjoyed when Kurt Warner defibrillated them from the coma Matt Leinart lulled them into. I'm not saying Kolb is going to be the future Hall of Famer I think you're goofy to think Warner isn't. But they're very much in position to make a legitimate push for, we'll go as far as to say, the NFC Divisional playoff. I'll give that team, with Kolb and Fitzgerald and...
Steve Breaston signed with Kansas City? And Beanie Wells is still No. 1 on the depth chart? But his foot isn't?
In any event:
The biggest knock on Kolb in Philadelphia was his incompetence in the West Coast passing game. Well guess what? That's not what Ken Wisenhunt does. Wisenhunt doesn't implement Todd Haley's old system to a T, sending every eligible receiver (and occasionally a fat guy, just to sell tickets; it is Missouri, people—those folks need all the flair they can get..) 90 yards down the field and chucking it to them. But it's eerily similar.
Arizona very much warms to stretching the field, and Fitzgerald very much warms to quarterbacks not named Leinart, Derek Anderson, Max Hall or John Skelton. Seems like the perfect match, and terror for a division that just lost its only legitimate cornerback when Nate Clements was cut from San Francisco. Have fun, kiddies...
Plus, I'm not so sure we're selling the positive effects of Kolb's 2010 from hell. This guy sat watching Donovan McNabb for a year. Then he was shuttled in and out a few times in 2008, before going back to his seemingly eternal sitting and watching. Then came the Baltimore game, and McNabb's third-most trademark faceplant of his career (1), and a few more games of playing.
That, of course, was followed by more indecisive Belgian waffling by the front office, who ultimately anointed him starter before the 2010 season. In case you spent August 2010 through January 2011 in a hole, that didn't go so well for Kolb. Everybody stumbles sometimes, but when your brutal concussion makes way for the greatest revival in city history, if not the greatest redemption narrative in United States history, that can be tough to swallow.
For most, I think that crumbles you from the inside. But there's something about Kolb, a sort of southern nonchalant air that made Brett Favre so collected and Roy Oswalt seem like it. It's not exactly that South Beach blase—sort of its southeastern cousin—but it's comparable.
Since this seems as good a time as any to prognosticate Kolb's future as an NFL QB, I say somewhere between Matt Hasselbeck and Jon Kitna (both of whom, by the way, are far better players than they're given credit for). In Arizona, that's good enough for perennial competitiveness.
On the flip side, this epitomizes the "addition by subtraction" effect for the Eagles. There's no question that Kolb compounds the catastrophic distraction of DeSean Jackson's holdout. Now that the Eagles have two of four major offseason problems squared away (trading Kolb and landing a cornerback), and are working on another, according to reports that the team has opened long-term contract talks with Michael Vick, the only hiccup on the road to the Super Bowl Google Map is negotiating with Jackson.
Which, if you've heard him speak, might take a while. I genuinely don't know if there's a functioning synapse in that man's head.
Still, whenever Starship Seven is walking the straight and narrow, and all the way to the film room, your team's dancing shoes look all that much more usable.
So in short: This might be the biggest, most mutually benefiting transaction to date.
Coming in at No. 2, though...
(1) No. 1 faceplant was the Super Bowl "phantom puke" in 2004, and No. 2 was the quotable from the tie with Cincy in 2008. Seriously, I don't beat you up for not knowing the rule. But telling the free world, which transitively includes the fanbase whose eyes rest on your jugular and whose lips lick themselves when they daydream, that you didn't know was unforgivable. You genuinely must love punishment.
Please: I'm actually a fan of yours. But when in doubt, make fun of all the convicts on the opposing team. Or say nothing. I guess "no comment" is as effective...
(2) And no, that's not taking a shot at a guy with a violent concussion history. If anything, it's an observation accentuated by the fact that there's not much a disparity between the pre- and post-Duanta Robinson DeSean Jacksons. He might be that hollow-headed.