Kolb trade has grounded the Eagles

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick arrives at training camp at Lehigh University. Some notables were missing for the opener.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick arrives at training camp at Lehigh University. Some notables were missing for the opener. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 28, 2011

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Whether he is an Eagle or not, Kevin Kolb won't be at Lehigh on Thursday morning when players are required to show up for the first practice of training camp, an NFL source said.

Kolb will miss the walk-through because the Eagles were working on a trade involving the quarterback on Wednesday and are likely to still be in the process by the start of practice the next day, according to the source.

The question is whether the Eagles are OK with Kolb, who is under contract, skipping a mandatory practice.

An Eagles spokesman said the team had no comment.

The primary trade being discussed remains essentially as it has been for months, with the same partners and same key elements. Kolb would go to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

As of late Wednesday night, the deal was still on track to be completed within the next two days, multiple league sources said.

The hangup appears to be the extra piece - an unspecified Cardinals draft pick - that the teams are haggling over. Kolb's desire to get a contract extension, and Arizona's likely desire to lock him up long-term after giving up so much in compensation, could also be holding up the process.

At this point, though, it would be a shock if talks crumbled. The Eagles were even offering Rodgers-Cromartie jerseys for sale on their website at one point Wednesday. The offer was later removed.

If the Eagles and Cardinals can't agree on a swap, other teams are interested in the 26-year-old Kolb, a league source said. The list of possible suitors is shrinking, however.

Seattle pulled from the Kolb sweepstakes after it acquired Tarvaris Jackson on Tuesday. The Tennessee Titans wrapped up Matt Hasselbeck on Wednesday. And the Miami Dolphins are reportedly in negotiations to acquire quarterback Kyle Orton from Denver.

Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Oakland, and San Francisco are not perfect fits, but they don't exactly have their starting quarterback situations in stone.

Eagles coach Andy Reid, who met with the media to open training camp, could shed no further light on deals involving Kolb.

"Right now, when you're normally in this thing with some sort of strategy to work through, I don't want to divulge anything," he said.

The Eagles' overall strategy for shaping their roster still remains a mystery. The plan is likely tied up by the Kolb trade, but after two days of being able to negotiate with free agents, the Eagles have yet to agree to terms with any players. They cannot officially sign free agents until Friday at 6 p.m.

They aren't the only teams to tread softly into free agency. But after Reid and team president Joe Banner said in the offseason that the Eagles would be aggressive, fans are getting itchy.

"We'll find out here Friday and see how things work out, and then we'll find out a few days after that, too," Reid said. "We're cramming a lot of things in a short period of time."

There are still a number of attractive free agents on the market. If the Eagles can't get Rodgers-Cromartie, Cincinnati's Jonathan Joseph would be the obvious target. The Lions are rumored to be after Joseph. Nnamdi Asomugha is the top available cornerback, but that ship appears to have passed with the New York Jets courting him heavily.

The Eagles' hole at right cornerback is as grand as Lehigh's campus. Asked who his starting cornerback was at this juncture, Reid took a long pause before responding, "I'm not going to tell you."

That was the general theme of Reid's news conference. It was pointless to ask about the Eagles' interest in free agent Ray Edwards, even though the team is in need of a topflight defensive end.

Edwards has been talking with radio stations in cities with NFL teams to which he has been linked. The 25-year-old went on WBEN-FM (97.5) on Wednesday and said the Eagles had yet to contact his agent.

"Only sense I have is that fans on Twitter are reaching out to me and saying they want to see me in green," Edwards said when he was asked about the Eagles' perceived interest.

Edwards said that he considers himself a three-down end. New defensive line coach Jim Washburn likes to employ a heavy rotation system, which could suggest the Eagles are looking for a more specialized pass rusher like Jason Babin.

An Eagle two seasons ago, Babin told profootballtalk.com that "the Eagles are definitely one of the top three right now that we're discussing situations with."

Babin, 31, recorded 12 1/2 sacks last season playing under Washburn in Tennessee.

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745, jmclane@phillynews.com, or @Jeff_McLane on Twitter.

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