Philadelphia had enough leverage and perception on its side to fleece Arizona in the Kevin Kolb trade over the summer.
The Eagles sat patiently and pointed out how Kolb could turn the Cardinals into a divisional winner and a potential Super Bowl contender.
It was only last year when Seattle became the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing record.
At 7-9 Seattle not only won the NFC West, but they also beat an 11-5 New Orleans squad at home in the playoffs and came within one game of playing for the NFC Championship.
Arizona finished the season with a 5-11 record and their quarterbacks were Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton. It was one of the worst trios in recent memory. But there Arizona was, only one player away from making a run at the division and possibly going deep into the playoffs.
Was it that far out of line to think a serviceable quarterback could win nine games and possibly the division?
They could also remind Arizona about how it was only a couple years ago when the Cardinals played in the Super Bowl, and that if they could just somehow get into the playoffs anything would happen. The only problem is Arizona wasn't going to get there with Hall or Skelton under center,
To make matters worse was the perception of how terrible the NFC West was and how easy it was to win such a bad division.
San Francisco was going through a coaching change and their quarterback situation appeared to be a mess. Seattle looked like a fluke and their quarterback situation was also muddled. And St. Louis was a young team who needed to prove itself.
Arizona Cardinals General Manager, Rod Graves, must have thought his team could overtake the NFC West in 2011.
Graves had a plan to address some defensive needs through the draft and then aggressively pursue Eagles backup quarterback Kevin Kolb via trade. Kolb was at least serviceable in the eyes of many and he had the upside of being a franchise quarterback. And better yet, he was requested by star receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
The plan went pretty well as Graves drafted cornerback Patrick Peterson with the fifth overall pick and then took linebacker Sam Acho in the fourth round.
Things didn't look so good when Graves sent Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in 2012 in exchange for Kolb. It seemed like a lot to give up for a guy who only started seven games as a pro and held a career 3-4 record.
The Eagles made everyone look at the fact Kolb was the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in his first two starts and was a second-round draft pick.
Forget that Kolb piled up those numbers in a blowout loss against New Orleans and against a bad Kansas City team and that he was a system quarterback out of the University of Houston. Those were the selling points and the Eagles sold them well.
Philadelphia could also mention how losing a Pro Bowl cornerback like Rodgers-Cromartie was not a big deal since they drafted a stud in Peterson.
And the second round pick coming Philadelphia's way? It would be more like an early third rounder because Kolb would lift the Cardinals to great heights.
Not only that, but it was going to make Fitzgerald happy and ultimately restructure his deal to keep him in Arizona for several years.
It was all set up for Philadelphia to take advantage of the Cardinals. And when the deal finally went down you could just imagine the smile on Andy Reid's face.
He traded away a former second-round quarterback, who was going to be a free agent at the end of the year, for a second-rounder in 2012 and a Pro Bowl cornerback.
As it turns out Kolb has been an enormous bust. He's 1-6 as a starter, with his lone win coming on opening day against Carolina and rookie Cam Newton.
Last week Kolb missed his first start of the year and Skelton got the win against the St. Louis Rams. Granted it was a win against a bad team, but it's a damaging blow to know Skelton has as many wins as Kolb despite Kolb having six additional opportunities to one up his backup.
The losses could pile up for Skelton starting Sunday against the Eagles as it is unclear if Kolb will start due to a foot injury.
The deal isn't working out too well for Philadelphia right now, but in the long run it could be the best thing that has happened to the franchise in years.
It may finally force Reid to abandon the idea of stocking up on cornerbacks and neglecting the linebacker position. Or better yet, the trade could get him fired.
The trade was good enough to raise expectations in Philly and the pressure for Reid to win a Super Bowl now. At 3-5 the Eagles would not even be bowl eligible in college football and with each loss the heat intensifies enough for the front office to part ways with the longest tenured coach in the NFL.
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