Sizing up Kevin Kolb’s trade suitors

Philadelphia Eagles QB Kevin Kolb (4) dances away from San Francisco 49ers Manny Lawson (99) and Ray McDonald (91) in the second quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on October 10, 2010. The Eagles defeated the 49ers 27-24 UPI/Terry Schmitt

Kevin Kolb has become the hottest name on the trade market, which is interesting when you consider:

A) The Eagles have yet to make him available
B) The NFL and NFLPA have yet to agree to a new CBA deal

Thus, even if the Eagles wanted to trade Kolb they couldn’t. But you know the internet, always whoring around with any rumor it can find.

Make no mistake: Kolb is unlikely to be dealt if a new CBA is not reached until after the draft. The Eagles aren’t going to leave themselves exposed by trading Kolb and rolling the dice that Michael Vick will make it through an entire 16-game season without getting hurt. It’s too big of a gamble on their end and they’re not going to trade a valuable commodity in Kolb without reaping immediate rewards (i.e. 2011 draft picks). The Eagles also won’t know whether or not they have to draft Kolb’s replacement if he a new CBA isn’t in place by the end of April.

But let’s take a trip down the hypothetical highway for a moment and assume that a deal will be reached before the draft, and the Eagles do plan on trading Kolb. Which teams make the most sense?

1. Seattle Seahawks
Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent and Charlie Whitehurst is Charlie Whitehurst. The Hawks could get bye with Hasselbeck for another season, but I’m not sure Pete Carroll is comfortable handing the keys to his offense over to Whitehurst. Kolb is a fit for a couple of reasons. First, the Eagles likely will want a first round pick for Kolb and the Seahawks have the No. 25th overall selection in the first round. The No. 25th overall pick is certainly fair value for a starting-caliber NFL quarterback and if the Hawks were thinking about taking someone like Jake Locker with that pick, why not go with the 26-year-old Kolb instead? Also, Kolb is a perfect fit for Darrell Bevell’s West Coast Offense after spending a couple of years under Andy Reid. Lastly, there have been reports that Seattle was interested in Kolb last spring and if that’s true, then why wouldn’t they be interested again this year?

2. Arizona Cardinals
Under Ken Whisenhunt, the Cardinals are considered a balanced offense but they use a fair amount of spread looks by employing four-receiver sets. While the two systems aren’t the exactly the same, Kolb played in the spread at the University of Houston under former head coach Art Briles. So while Kolb has transitioned into a West Coast quarterback under Andy Reid, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the tools to run Whisenhunt’s offense. The Cards also have the most leverage when it comes to dealing with the Eagles because they hold the No. 5 overall pick. If they’re willing to swap places with the Eagles in the first round, they could land a starting quarterback, keep a first round pick (albeit not a top-5 selection) and maybe even get another mid-round pick out of Philadelphia as well.

3. Minnesota Vikings
Something tells me the Vikings won’t draft a quarterback at No. 12, even though it’s their top need. If anything, I could see the Vikes drafting someone like Christian Ponder (a highly accurate quarterback) in the middle rounds seeing as how new OC Bill Musgrave will run his version of the West Coast Offense next year in Minny. Ooooorrr, the Vikes can trade for Kolb and have a more seasoned West Coast quarterback run Musgrave’s offense. Maybe the Vikings and Eagles could swap first round picks and then Minnesota could also toss Philly an extra pick or two to compensate for the value of Kolb. (Or they could just trade the No. 12 overall pick straight up; I’m not entirely sure of Kolb’s value at this point.) Again, this is based on my hunch that the Vikings won’t take a quarterback at No. 12, so trading for Kolb makes a lot of sense at this time.

Other possibilities: 49ers, Titans and Redskins.
All three teams are searching for quarterback help and I like Washington as your long-shot sleeper of the group. Mike Shanahan also runs the WCO and hey, the Redskins and Eagles have already worked together before when Philly traded Donovan McNabb to D.C. (look how well that turned out!).

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