We have been following the NFL Trade Rumors just as closely as you have, and so far this NFL Free Agency has lived up to the hype those rumors caused. One trade we all saw coming for some time now involved an NFC West team and a popular Philadelphia quarterback.
It was a long time coming, but Kevin Kolb is an Arizona Cardinal. In a trade that sent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Eagles, we see the Arizona Cardinals make a major play to win the NFC West.
It’s a quarterback’s league, and the Cardinals know it, so they evaluated a franchise quarterback to be worth the risk of a top-flight corner and second-round draft choice.
Though Kolb has been ridiculed over his short career in the NFL, it is hard to find many flaws because it is just that—short. The Cardinals made a significant investment in Kolb, so you can expect a hungry franchise and football fans hoping for immediate returns.
Kolb will get to play with one of the NFL’s best wide receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, at least. The five-time Pro Bowl receiver thrived while playing with tested quarterback Kurt Warner. Cardinals’ fans shouldn’t start hoping for Kolb to be a Warner replica, though.
The Cardinals’ official offensive coordinator is Mike Miller, who has seen unparalleled successes at times in the NFL. While Miller was wide receivers coach with the Cardinals, the NFL saw the Cardinals have three 1,000-yard receivers in one season, only the fifth time it has happened in NFL history.
Miller might not be doing the primary play calling, however. That distinction of play caller should remain Ken Whisenhunt’s. That being said, Whisenhunt did allow Miller to call some plays last year, when they Cardinals were ranked 31st.
It is hard to gauge Kolb on his production, as the sample size just isn’t big enough. The biggest knock on Kolb, however, is his decision making. Last year the Cardinals had the 11th most interceptions in the NFL.
Kolb is a definite upgrade over John Skelton, Max Hall or Richard Bartell, but to this point in their careers, Kolb and Derek Anderson have had similar successes. Some would argue Anderson has proven more on the field than Kolb.
Kolb will no doubt get his chance to shine. The Cardinals invested heavily in Kolb and had the 11th most pass attempts in football. Kolb will see a large jump in our current rankings simply because of his added playing time. Currently, we have Kolb sitting at 22nd overall, and he will likely see a jump near the top 15.
You may think that is crazy, and perhaps we are over evaluating his abilities. What we aren’t over evaluating are the creative and strong game plans that Ken Whisenhunt brings to any offense.
Kolb will have the benefit of playing behind a decent pass-blocking offensive line and throwing to one of the league’s best receivers also, so there is a good upside for Kolb.
The Cardinals do have only one receiver worth mentioning on the roster right now. Early Doucet had a lot of hype in fantasy last season but never materialized. Since Doucet is still rehabbing multiple injuries from last season, Andre Roberts is likely to be the team’s No. 2 receiver.
Roberts showed some real upside at the end of 2011 and the team considers him their #2 of the future. If Doucet is healthy, he can make a big play when needed, so the Cardinals should be able to get three dynamic receivers on the field when in passing situations.
For those of you drafting for your league after the preseason has begun, you will no doubt have a better idea about Kolb’s value. We actually like Kolb as a good backup in a one quarterback league, and if paired with someone proven to be consistent, Kolb could be a very strong starter in a two QB league.
Be sure to check back often as the offseason progresses to see where Kolb moves in the rankings.
See all of our fantasy football sleepers here.