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Floodgates Almost Open
Posted By Christopher Rowe On Jul 21 2011 @ 3:08 pm In Philadelphia Eagles | 6 Comments
When the NFL lockout ends as a result of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the focus will turn from the courtroom and the board room to the War Room. This could take hours or days but by the end of next week, the NFL could be back in business. This means that 5 months of normal offseason activity will be compressed into about 2-1/2 weeks including re-signing of restricted free agents, training camp, review of new CBA rules, unrestricted free agency and of course, four weeks of painful preseason games.
Appearing on ESPN Radio Thursday (Jul 21, 12:08 PM) ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reported that Kevin Kolb is already looking at real estate in Arizona. Several other sources have cited some knowledge of Kolb’s past conversations with Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt in addition to Whisenhunt’s inquiries with other coaches who have seen Kolb up close. On a recent Dan Patrick Show appearance Kolb seemed convinced he’d be traded to the Cardinals – so it’s not surprising that he’s already perusing the real estate market and planning accordingly.
It was supposed to happen prior to the 2011 NFL Draft and at that time the rumor was that Arizona would send either a first and third round pick or a pick and DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Some combination of the player and picks went back and forth and it stands to reason that the Eagles asked for Adrian Wilson or other players to no avail. Now that Arizona has drafted Patrick Peterson, conventional NFL wisdom would indicate that Cromartie is leaving the land of the desert sun one way or another. The Cardinals could conceivably swap Cromartie for any of the other available QB but Kolb seems to be the logical first choice for Arizona.
The obvious stumbling block to a Kolb-Cardinals trade is the amount of compensation. It’s expected to include Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 draft pick (still to be determined), but Arizona will also have to fork over a long-term deal for Kolb (at least in the Matt Cassel range six years, $63 million) if Kolb is their ultimate choice. Other teams seeking QB help include San Francisco, Minnesota, Jacksonville and Miami but none guarantee a starting role. Kolb may also be dealt to Seattle if a better deal could be struck including Marcus Trufant and draft picks. Kolb for Cromartie or Trufant and draft picks? Where do we sign?
Over the course of 4 NFL seasons, Kolb has seen action in 21 games, completing 194 of 319 passes for 2,082 yards, 11 TD and 14 INT. Not exactly an appropriate sample size but Kolb has proven that he has an accurate arm and boasts two 300-yard passing games. For all practical purposes, Kolb is the most talented QB with the most upside potential from the current class of free agents and available veterans. Cromartie, a three year NFL vet, has 13 INT in 48 games played (43 as a starter) as well as 4 TD (on INT) and 126 tackles. Cromartie has experience as a return man and would be an excellent compliment to Asante Samuel.
 The Eagles have made it clear that their first priority is Nnamdi Asomugha – who is rumored to be headed for Dallas. Free agency will be a two week frenzy of activity and teams need to be very clear about their first priority in order to ensure they have time to move on to secondary and tertiary choices. The next name on the list for most teams is former Cincinnati Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph (272 tackles, 14 INT, 3 TD in 5 seasons). Once the CB situation is resolved the Eagles should move onto their needs at linebacker, defensive linemen and safety.
Rumors abound involving the possible return of Stewart Bradley, Brian Westbrook and Brian Dawkins but it would require one or all to accept reduced roles. The rumor about disgraced Donovan McNabb returning to Philadelphia as Vick’s backup (rather than accept a third-string role behind Rex Grossman in Washington with Coach Shanahan) makes about as much sense as bringing Brett Favre to Broad Street. Critics cite Vick’s inability to stay healthy and Kolb’s knowledge of the offense as reasons to keep him – as well as the inexperience of second-year backup Mike Kafka. Trading Kolb makes sense because it would infuse the team with much-needed talent at the CB position and garner draft picks.
Then again, signing Nnamdi Asomugha would allow the Eagles to trade Kolb elsewhere. Lots of backup QB candidates could come to Philly including Kellon Clemons, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Delhomme, Tavaris Jackson, Vince Young, etc. Asomugha should cost about $17-$20M per season on the open market which is why Dallas is the favorite destination. However, since Kolb’s contract expires after 2011 and he is entering the prime of his career, moving Kolb now and getting something back makes the most sense for all involved.
 That would free up Philadelphia to pursue the likes of DT Albert Haynesworth, former Eagles DE Jason Babin or linebacker help. Much press has been generated regarding the fate of recently released Plaxico Burress as well as former Heisman Trophy Winner (stripped of the honor) Reggie Bush – each of whom are free agents. Burress was seen exiting the prison, greeted by agent Drew Rosenhaus and wearing a throwback Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap.
Buckle your chin strap and let’s see what the hell happens!
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