Eagles will deal Kolb, but his destination is unknown

Dominique Rogers-Cromartie , the Arizona cornerback, could interest the Eagles as a return on Kevin Kolb.
Dominique Rogers-Cromartie , the Arizona cornerback, could interest the Eagles as a return on Kevin Kolb. (Associated Press)
Posted: May 08, 2011

News flash: Monday, May 9, 2011. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals did not grant NFL owners a permanent stay of Judge Susan Richard Nelson's lockout injunction. NFL teams, therefore, must open their doors to players, and the league must resume business and start the new year immediately.

While that scenario is an unlikely one, there is still the chance that the lockout will be lifted Monday - or some time before the owners' appeal is heard on June 3 - and the Eagles will be permitted to make the moves that many suspect they will make before the coming season.

Trade Kevin Kolb.

Add a cornerback.

Add a defensive end.

Extend Michael Vick's contract.

The latter three likely won't happen until Kolb is dealt. And make no mistake about it, the Eagles' backup quarterback is all but gone, as one team source said.

The questions then are, to paraphrase Ricky Watters, "To whom?" and "For what?"

Several teams remain as possible suitors following the draft, with one team the clear leader, per a report from last week. The compensation for Kolb is murkier, although the Eagles are likely to want a corner or end in return along with a draft pick.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported on Monday that the Eagles already had an offer for a 2012 first-rounder. When asked about the report on 97.5 FM on Wednesday, Eagles coach Andy Reid responded with a non-denial denial.

"That's not where we're at right now," Reid said, "and I wouldn't talk about it anyway if it was."

Later in the week, ESPN's Adam Schefter issued a non-report report, first on TV, then in a chat, that the Arizona Cardinals were the favorites to land Kolb. Schefter went on to write in the chat that the "Cardinals and Eagles were allowed to discuss a deal at various points this off-season" [which they were] "including the first day of the draft" [which they weren't].

It is "not true that anyone was permitted to discuss trades of NFL player contracts" during the first day of the draft, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail Friday. The lockout was temporarily lifted two weeks ago after Nelson's ruling, but the league went only so far as to allow players to enter team facilities for a 12-hour span.

Eagles sources denied Schefter's report, although it would be difficult for the league to prove the teams were in violation of league rules. A trade just minutes after a lifted lockout could suggest as much.

Nevertheless, there is reason to link the Eagles to Arizona. The Cardinals did not get a quarterback in the draft, and general manager Rod Graves has said he would be aggressive in acquiring one.

Instead of taking a quarterback with the fifth overall pick in the draft, Arizona took Patrick Peterson, which led some overzealous fans to deduce that the Eagles had a wink-and-nod deal for the LSU cornerback.

They did not, although Peterson could factor into a trade. With the rookie already penciled in as a starter, the Cardinals have a surplus of cornerbacks and could be willing to unload either Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Greg Toler.

The 25-year-old Rodgers-Cromartie is a more attractive commodity. He's stringy (6-foot-2, 182 pounds), dependable (hasn't missed a game in three seasons), and has 13 career interceptions. But his 15 penalties were tied for worst in the league, and last season he played left cornerback - Asante Samuel's side with the Eagles.

Toler is a year older, two inches shorter, and less experienced. Some project the 6-1, 222-pound Peterson as a safety, and the Cardinals are aging in center field, so he could start out there. But quarterback is an obvious priority.

Arizona has Derek Anderson, Richard Bartel, Max Hall, and John Skelton on its roster. Yeah, it's that bad. The Cardinals were rumored to be interested in the 34-year-old Marc Bulger, who is eight years Kolb's senior.

The Seattle Seahawks and free agent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck are likely to part ways, and backup Charlie Whitehurst has only one year left on his contract. Still, the Seahawks did not add a signal-caller in the draft.

There are obstacles to an Eagles-Seattle swap, the primary one being the Seahawks' trade chips. They don't have any of worth to the Eagles. Cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings are mediocre at best. Defensive ends Chris Clemons (been there, done that) and Raheem Brock (almost 33) wouldn't be attractive.

The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills need starting quarterbacks, unless they want to keep Chad Henne and Ryan Fitzpatrick, respectively, under center for next season. But at this point, both teams may be better off just bagging the season and having first shot at either Stanford's Andrew Luck or USC's Matt Barkley in the 2012 draft.

The Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders - like the Washington Redskins in the Donovan McNabb sweepstakes a year ago - cannot be counted out. But the Browns, despite the front office's many ties to the Eagles, still have Colt McCoy. And the Raiders, well, they don't have much that the Eagles could want in return.

The Eagles do want free agent Nnamdi Asomugha, but at what price? The Raiders cornerback is coveted by many teams. If the Eagles were to have to sign Asomugha out of the gate, a Kolb deal could take on a whole different look.

That is, unless the trade is already completed.

Now there's a news flash.

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jeff_McLane


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