July 25, 2011

Philadelphia Eagles Need to Get the Kevin Kolb Trade Right

Unless you just awoke from a 12-month coma, you know that there is a 99.9 percent chance that the Eagles will be trading Kevin Kolb once the new league year begins.  You’ve also read numerous articles speculating on where he’ll be traded and what kind of compensation the Eagles might receive.  Heck, I’ve written a few myself.

As you may or may not know, I’ve previously gone on record as saying the Eagles would trade Kolb to Arizona for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (plus a draft pick).  In fact, my original speculation began shortly after the NFL Draft when some fans were talking about a Kolb-for-Patrick Peterson trade.

I still believe that a Kolb-for-DRC trade is a real possibility—maybe even a very likely possibility.  But it certainly is not guaranteed; nor is the aspect of Kolb going to Arizona at all.

One thing I like to maintain is that the Eagles have a knack for not doing what the masses think they will.  Right now, the masses believe Kolb is headed for the desert.

Another thing I want to point out, which is the purpose of this article, is that it doesn’t matter what they do as long as they get it right.  By “right”, I mean that they need to think a little bit into the future and how this trade could impact the team.  Allow me to elaborate…

Kolb is a valuable commodity at this point in time.  He’s the hottest QB prospect on the trading block in a league where good quarterbacks are hard to come by.  Obviously, we all know the Eagles’ biggest need is another cornerback.

Is using a prized trading chip at the league’s most valuable position to garner a player at a position of need the smartest thing to do?  If that player were Patrick Peterson, it would be a no-brainer.  But is DRC truly worth it?

The Eagles have to weigh trading for a player like DRC against acquiring a player like Ike Taylor or Carlos Rogers (I’m not even going to mention Nnamdi).  DRC is much younger and has made more plays compared to the other two, but hear me out for a second.

Word has it that the Eagles are high on Trevard Lindley, and they believe they just drafted a good corner of the future in Curtis Marsh.  If they feel that either or both of those guys will develop into a solid starter, they could be smart to sign Taylor or Rogers to hold down the fort with Samuel for two more years. 

Why should they do this, you ask?  The simple answer is to just get the best compensation for Kolb in the form of 2012 draft picks rather than use up a large chunk of his value for a player that may ultimately only be marginally better than Taylor or Rogers in 2011.

In a sense, having extra picks (potentially very high picks) in next year’s draft would be like an insurance policy in case a few things go drastically wrong this season.

Andy Reid and the Eagles love quarterbacks and are always thinking ahead.  With Kolb gone and the 31-year-old injury-prone Michael Vick starting, that only leaves Mike Kafka as the “heir apparent” to the throne.  That just will not do.

Reid and the Eagles need to be armed with serious draft pick ammunition in the 2012 draft just in case they want…or need…to go after a top QB.  If Vick suffers a serious injury or goes back to his subpar ways in 2011, all of a sudden, quarterback becomes a major question mark for 2012.

They would be wise to stack themselves with draft picks in order to allow them a realistic chance at trading up high enough (if needed) to land one of the top two or three college QBs.  

There was a rumor a while back in which Seattle was offering first- and third-round draft picks.  Would you rather have that and, say, Ike Taylor, or DRC and a third-rounder?  Having that extra first-round pick sure would be nice come next April.

Of course, DRC has made one Pro Bowl (2009) in his three years in the league.  He could have a Pro Bowl-type season in 2011 and help us win a championship.  He does have the ability to be a great player when he plays to his full potential.    

This is the dilemma the Eagles face, and their decision will impact not only 2011, but also 2012 and beyond.  If they trade Kolb for DRC and he flops or is merely average, Reid and Co. will look like dopes.

Then it would be compounded if, for whatever reason, quarterback becomes a position of need in the 2012 draft. 

Lastly, Reid needs have some luck on his side (some Andrew Luck would be nice, huh?).  Much of how this trade will be remembered is how well Kolb does.  If Vick falters and Kolb looks good, Reid will be crucified unless he gets excellent trade compensation.

If Kolb ends up making the Redskin version of McNabb look like a Pro Bowler, Reid would be praised if he got even a six-pack of warm Piels in return.  He’ll also be safe if Vick performs well and remains healthy.

A quick point of clarification here; I’ve been using DRC as the main player in compensation for Kolb.  The same would be true for any player the Eagles would get in return.  The point is, that player had better have a good season, no matter who it is.

At the end of the day, I’m fine either way.  I don’t have to worry about being “wrong” here.  If DRC ends up being the prize for Kolb, I’m perfectly okay with that.  If they bypass DRC and sign Taylor or Rogers (or someone else that has quality), that’s fine too.

With Vick’s style of play, I give him two more seasons of maximum effectiveness before he starts looking like McNabb or worse.  The pressure is on Reid to put his team “in a better position” now and for the future.

His choice could ultimately come down to acquiring a talented but inconsistent young cornerback or getting 2012 draft picks that could land the team its franchise QB of the future.

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