Unlike last year, not a Happy Easter for Eagles quarterback Kolb

The NFL lockout is complicating any plans to trade Kevin Kolb.
The NFL lockout is complicating any plans to trade Kevin Kolb.
Posted: April 25, 2011

KEVIN KOLB didn't get any long-awaited Easter phone calls from Andy Reid yesterday.

Last year, Reid called Kolb on Easter Sunday with news of a trade - welcome news, because Donovan McNabb had been sent to Washington, making Kolb the Eagles' starting quarterback after three seasons as an understudy. Now, Kolb sits at home in Granbury, Texas, and awaits word of another trade, one that will allow him to start anew, as the Eagles move forward with Michael Vick. But Kolb can't be traded until the NFL lockout ends. Even if U.S. Judge Susan Nelson grants the players an injunction this week, the league will appeal, and it's pretty much impossible that player movement will be allowed before the NFL draft begins on Thursday.

That was always the best scenario for a Kolb trade this year, that the Eagles would be able to move him before or during the draft for a pick or picks that would help them win the Super Bowl next February, help them more than Kolb would help as a backup to Vick.

Last month at the NFL meetings in New Orleans, Eagles coach Reid was emphatic that he would be willing to trade Kolb for 2012 assets, if that was how it turned out. But as team president Joe Banner previously noted, trading Kolb for something that doesn't help the Eagles this season adds a layer of complications. For one thing, the Eagles presumably will want more, since the team getting Kolb can use him this season, and the Birds can't do much this year with 2012 picks except root for Kolb's new team to lose.

That's another complication. Let's say you want to trade for Kolb because you think he makes you a playoff contender. Let's say you're the Minnesota Vikings. You pick 12th in 2011. Any deal you might have made for Kolb this week would've almost had to involve that pick, either switching with the Eagles at 23 and giving them a few other picks, or trading your first-rounder outright. But if you make the playoffs in 2012, with Kolb, maybe you're picking 28th, or something, next year. That pick clearly doesn't have the same value as this year's pick, even leaving aside the fact that it doesn't get made for a year. (And no, the league isn't going to allow some team to pick a player for the Eagles this week, then trade that player for Kolb when the lockout ends.)

Also, there is no guarantee that the lockout will be over soon. If it ends in, say, September, what is the immediate value of Kolb to another team, which will have to then teach him a new offense in what probably will be a hectic couple of weeks of preparation for the season?

There have been reports that Kolb's contract situation also could be a barrier. The 2-year deal he signed last spring, that came with nearly an $11 million signing bonus, ends after this season, and, of course, Kolb and agent Jeff Nalley, neither of whom responded to requests for comment yesterday, will want a contract that will put him in franchise-QB territory, long-term. But, really, if you're trading for Kolb, that's your premise, that he's your franchise quarterback, so it's hard to get too worked up over that potential barrier when so many bigger ones exist.

The feeling here is that the Eagles will go out of their way to try to trade Kolb, whenever trades are allowed. They want to move on, they want him to be able to move on. Whenever Kolb talks about the situation, he talks about how he has always trusted Reid to do the right thing. I think Reid does not take that trust lightly. It's easy to make the case that if the Eagles aren't getting anything for Kolb that will help them this season, they should keep him - Vick missed three games with a rib injury last season, he turns 31 this summer. But I think the way Reid pulled the rug out from under Kolb last year, after being so emphatic about this being Kolb's time, will factor into that equation. He knows he owes Kolb one.

"I want to be starting somewhere next year, I really want to be," Kolb, 26, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram last week. "I'm in my fifth year now, so it's time to prove myself as a starter. Andy and I have a great relationship. It's always, 'You tell your side, and I'll tell mine, and, hopefully, we can make this thing work.' That's usually what happens. I know he'll do the right thing here."

The lockout trade freeze is particularly unfortunate in that this is a great year to be auctioning off a QB who has two NFC offensive player-of-the-week awards in seven career starts. When Andrew Luck decided to stay at Stanford, that meant there was no quarterback coming out of college in 2011 who is universally acclaimed as a franchise player, in a year when at least half-a-dozen teams are desperately searching for that guy. The Eagles spoke last month at the NFL meetings of having several teams interested in Kolb, and there was no reason to doubt them.

But last week, when general manager Howie Roseman held his annual predraft media availability, Roseman touched only briefly on Kolb, praising his team-player mentality, as reflected in what Kolb told the Fort Worth paper about being willing to back up Vick again, if that was how it turned out. Roseman spent more time talking about teams that want to draft quarterbacks, angling for the Eagles' 23rd overall selection, offering the Birds enticements to move down into the second round. Roseman seemed keenly interested.

"Especially where we are in the first round, I think that's where you anticipate some of the quarterbacks coming up. Obviously, we're in a great place in the draft to get some of those quarterbacks where they're slotted to go, if someone wants to come up and get one of those quarterbacks," said Roseman, who added that there was more interest from teams behind the Birds than from teams ahead of them offering a chance to move up. "There are a bunch of teams that look like they're in the top 10 first round, [then again in the] second round that may be interested in a quarterback. If they want to make sure that they get one, and get the one that they want, I think it's an area that you can come and move to . . . "

If that deal happens this week, you can be sure of at least one thing: It wasn't the QB-related trade the Eagles were hoping to make.

Send email to bowenl@phillynews.com

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