Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb has been the consummate team player.
Since he was selected by the team in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Kolb has worked his way up the ladder — third string, immediate backup and starter.
After preparing to take over the starting role, Kolb was injured in last season’s opener. The team placed veteran quarterback Michael Vick into the starting lineup, and he wound up taking over the role the rest of the way.
Because of the dearth of quality starting quarterbacks, Kolb could receive a ton of interest in free agency. However, because of the ongoing labor lockout, player trades are currently prohibited.
Kolb, who turns only 27 in August, is viewed as relatively young by NFL standards for the quarterback position. He also is on the final year of his contract at only $1.392,000 in base salary. Although that base salary is fully guaranteed, it’s a number that should be very palatable to handle for another team looking for a starter for several years to come.
Eagles coach Andy Reid admitted that the team received interest in Kolb before the March 4 roster and transaction freeze.
“People have shown a little interest (in Kolb), and as this thing pick up, I’m sure it will continue,” Reid said. “Listen, we’ll sit back and we’ll evaluate."
Which teams might have interest in Kolb?
Teams with with probable interest
Seattle Seahawks: It’s not a secret in league circles that the Seahawks were very interested in Kolb before the start of free agency last year. But the Eagles rebuffed Seattle’s interest because they made it known that they had no interest in a trade. So it won’t be a surprise when Seattle makes a play for Kolb once again if trading is allowed during or leading up to the draft. But Kolb might not be the only quarterback on Seattle’s radar.
Veteran Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle’s starter for the past 10 seasons, is unsigned for next season. A source familiar with the situation said both sides weren’t close to completing a deal prior to the transaction freeze beginning on March 4. Although the Seahawks traded for Charlie Whitehurst last year, a source said that their top target after Kolb was actually Trent Edwards, not Whitehurst. They turned their attention to Whitehurst once they were unable to acquire Edwards from the Buffalo Bills, the source said.
Arizona Cardinals: Although John Skelton certainly has upside, the strong-armed passer is far from a finished product, and the team knows this. And because Skelton is still a raw prospect, league sources believe the team will investigate what it would take to acquire Kolb. Profootballtalk.com reported last year that the Cardinals had interest in veteran quarterback Marc Bulger before the team signed Derek Anderson.
With the expectation that Anderson, who struggled last season during most of his nine starts, will be released due in part to his base salary of $3.9 million next season, it’s almost certain the team will sign or trade for a veteran. Bulger makes a lot of sense for one or two seasons while the team grooms Skelton or another developmental quarterback from this year’s draft.
Teams likely with moderate interest
San Francisco 49ers: I’m probably going to be in the minority here, but I don’t think it’s a slam-dunk that the 49ers will go hard after Kolb. The feeling, after talking to sources over the past few months, is that since the team has a revised front office and new coaching staff, the 49ers might want to build from within.
Minnesota Vikings: Kolb is game ready, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Vikings show interest in him. The Vikings used their first-round pick on Christian Ponder, but may need time to develop. Vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman is expected to have a larger say in personnel matters this year. According to pro personnel sources familiar with his thinking, Spielman is believed to have the desire to build from within not with players from other teams. Former head coach Brad Childress had final say on personnel decisions before he was fired during the 2010 season, according to league sources. Childress was more willing to take risks (see the Randy Moss deal from last season).
Teams likely with small or little interest
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins have Chad Henne as the incumbent starter, but he’s coming off a disappointing season. It wasn’t entirely his fault. The Dolphins couldn’t run the ball well with any consistency and the offensive line was very erratic. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they called the Eagles to check on what they’re looking for in return for Kolb, but the Dolphins have other issues to solve.
While Henne’s future with the team is clouded, he has shown,to have the ability to be better than an average starter. He’s just way too inconsistent. What the Dolphins need is another quarterback to compete against him for the job.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills showed interest in Donovan McNabb prior to the veteran quarterback’s trade to the Washington Redskins. But this time around, they actually have someone they think they can win with at least for the short-term in Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Oakland Raiders: They showed interest in McNabb last year, so it’s not out of the question that the Raiders call the Eagles to see what they’re looking for as far as compensation for Kolb.