Kevin Kolb a hot commodity in post lockout NFL by Matt Lombardo

Taking It to the House is predicting that the NFL Lockouot will be ending within the next week.  And the biggest commodity after the deal is completed will be Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb

Kevin Kolb’s days in Philadelphia are numbered.

 That much is certain if the recent surge of optimism towards the NFL lockout being lifted in the next seven to ten days is to be believed. By now it’s no secret that the Eagles will be active in the NFL shuffle once the league year begins, and Kolb’s name is already front and center on the wish list of several teams in need of a starting quarterback, whose need was left unsatiated by what appears to be a mediocre quarterback draft class. With Michael Vick entrenched as the starter and confidence growing within the Eagles organization in second year backup Mike Kafka, along with Kolb’s impending free agency, the fourth year quarterback out of Houston has become an expendable commodity that the Eagles are set to sell to the highest bidder.

Several teams have surfaced as possible landing spots for Kolb who figures to be one of the most pursued players and quickest moved once the league opens for business. The Cardinals, Dolphins, Browns, 49ers and Seahawks have all been rumored to have expressed interest in Kolb who completed nearly 61 percent of his passes in four years for 2,082 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 19 career games.

“Kevin Kolb will be dealt to Arizona, San Francisco, Cleveland, or Seattle, it’s a matter of when, not if.” Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz of the Delaware County Daily Times said. “The only question is who backs up Vick.

The Eagles brass is in a very lucrative position of having three teams in the woefully mediocre NFC West all vying for Kolb’s services to be their starting signal caller in the post-lockout world. Howie Roseman and Joe Banner, ever the poker players, would be wise to play the offers against each other to garner the largest bounty for their 2007 second round pick and one time quarterback of the future.

Each of the teams interested in Kolb offer the chance for the Birds to fill gaping holes in their roster both now and looking ahead to the future. However, as a settlement to the lockout appears to be nearing by the day, the team most likely to land Kolb looks to be the Cardinals.  Arizona has been interested since it became clear that Kolb was on the market, and theSunDevilStateis a natural fit as their quarterback situation has been in flux since Kurt Warner’s retirement in 2010.

The Cardinals are the ideal dance partner for the Eagles, offering corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as the centerpiece in a Kolb deal. Rodgers-Cromartie is an ideal compliment to cornerback Asante Samuel in a secondary that was anemic against the pass in 2010. The 6’1, 182 pound Rodgers-Cromartie made his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2009 and finished last season with 44 tackles, three interceptions and he returned two for touchdowns. Needless to say, Rodgers-Cromartie is a dynamic playmaker who would allow the ballhawking Samuel to flourish on the other side of the field.

While other teams certainly have expressed interest; Seattle reportedly offering a first and third round choice for Kolb, the obvious Eagles connection in Cleveland and the Niners who recently walked away from the failed Alex Smith experiment among them, the Cardinals and Eagles share a common thread of a shared sense of urgency to make a deal and make one quickly once the league allows. After all, receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been openly pining for the Cardinals front office to bring Kolb west.

Adding fuel to the Kolb to Arizona speculation, Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic appeared on the Weisman Trophy Radio Show on July 11th and reiterated the Cards interest in the current Eagles backup.

“I think [The Cardinals’] first call, the first thing they’ll do when the lockout is lifted, is to talk to the Eagles and see if they can acquire Kolb.” Somers said. “They’re very interested in trading for him. They’re wary, however, the Eagles are going to command a ransom for him. They’re not going to be willing to give that up, but they do like him an awful lot. They like almost everything about him and they think he could be a quarterback really for the next 10 years. So, it makes a possible teal intriguing. What do you give up for that guy? Especially for Kolb when he hasn’t proven himself.”

There is strong sentiment growing throughout the league that the lockout could be lifted and the league reopened for business by July 21 with a truncated free agency period which makes for frantic player movement in a short period of time before training camps open and pre-season games begin.

All signs point to Kolb finding a new address before the first footballs fly in formal workouts across the league. 



Matt Lombardo is a reporter for 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, NJ.  Matt can be reached on Twitter @MattLombardoPHL