That begs this question: Is he worth it?
My answer: Depends on the picks and how much he wants in terms of a new contract since his current deal expires after the 2011 season.
|Kevin Kolb has only seven starts in four NFL seasons, and his stats aren't particularly impressive. (Getty Images)|
With a quarterback draft class that once seemed so promising not nearly as good as expected, Kolb's value seems to be rising as we move closer to the April draft.
Eagles coach Andy Reid has to be sitting back soaking it all in, knowing that even though he might not want to trade Kolb -- which is said to be his preference -- he might have no choice.
At one point, the thinking was Kolb might get back a first-round pick. Now it might be more.
A first- and a third-round pick, maybe? That's steep, too steep in my mind. I asked around to some coaches and general managers about that price. They said it was too high as well, but they added this caveat: If the draft class of quarterbacks isn't as good as expected, it might be worth making the move. I like Kolb, but not to trade away two premium picks. I'd give up a one. That's it.
I liked him coming out Houston in 2007 when the Eagles took him in the second round. But just to get a better feel for him now, I went back and watched two of his games from this past season.
In one, a blowout victory over the Atlanta Falcons, he was sensational. In the other, a season-ending loss to the Dallas Cowboys, he was just OK. But he was playing with a bunch of backups against the Cowboys starters in a game that didn't matter to the Eagles in the final week.
In the Atlanta game, he was much more decisive with his throws. He also benefited from some great design. His best play, an 83-yard touchdown throw to Jeremy Maclin, came off a fake reverse in which Maclin was wide open. Easy throw, but he made it.
He made some other crisp throws in that game, showing off his big arm. But I didn't get to see a lot of him standing in the pocket and reading the field. He did make a nice touch throw over the middle linebacker against cover-2 for a touchdown to DeSean Jackson in the middle of the field. That was a nice read and a nice throw.
In the Cowboys game, he didn't look as sharp. He made a couple of nice throws, and he had some bad drops (Clay Harbor had two), but one play in particular bothered me as much as any.
It came on third down with the Eagles in field-goal range. Kolb took the snap and looked left the entire way. He kept looking and looking and looking and finally tried to squeeze a pass into Riley Cooper in between a bunch of Cowboys defenders. Terence Newman easily picked it off.
That's the type of play that takes big points off in my book for any quarterback. The head never came back to the other side.
It's easy to throw long passes to wide-open receivers off a fake reverse. It's tough to come off a receiver and get to the other side.
There are other things that concern me. In seven career starts, he has 10 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. He has a passer rating of 81.8 in those starts, which is just OK.
He hasn't excelled when games are close, either. In close games (within seven in the fourth) in his career, he has three touchdown passes and four interceptions and no touchdown passes and two interceptions late in games that are close.
That, to me, says something about him as a clutch player. In fairness, it's hard to really knock him too much for that since he has just seven career starts. Growth will come.
I do know of some teams that liked him more coming out of school than they do now after seeing him play the past four seasons. That doesn't mean they don't like him. It's just not as much.
Reid is said to love Kolb. But with Mike Vick back to run the Eagles next season, the Eagles almost have to trade Kolb since he can leave after the 2011 season without compensation. The risk is if Vick bombs or gets hurt, but two draft picks will help offset that if the Eagles can make a deal. Any team making a trade to get him would also have to give him a long-term deal or risk placing a franchise tag on him in 2012. Why trade if you're not going to pay him? If a team were willing to part with two picks, it would certainly have to be willing to extend Kolb's contract.
That would likely mean a contract similar to the six-year, $68 million deal the Kansas City Chiefs paid to Matt Cassel after they traded for him in 2009. The Chiefs acquired Cassel for a second-round pick after he played well as a starter for the Patriots in 2008.
Cassel had 15 starts on his resume. Kolb has seven. When Houston traded to get Matt Schaub from Atlanta, he had just two starts in three seasons. The Falcons got two second-round picks and a swap of firsts -- two spots -- in exchange for Schaub.
Schaub has had one 3,000-yard passing season and two of more than 4,000 in his four seasons with the Texans. But it's still debatable as to whether he is a top-tier quarterback. I think Kolb could be every bit as good as Schaub and maybe better than Cassel. But a first-round pick -- especially a high one -- with an extra pick thrown on top is way too expensive. The Bills once traded away a top-10 pick to the Jaguars to get Rob Johnson. How did that work out? P.S.: I loved the deal for the Bills when it was made, so what do I know, right? This is what it comes down to for me as it relates to Kolb: Is trading two picks to get the same level of player as Schaub worth it?
I get why it might be in a quarterback-parched league, but it's a risky proposition for a guy who hasn't exactly wowed them in his seven starts. In his last two starts, Kolb had passer ratings of 56.9 and 37.0 -- not exactly stats that scream franchise quarterback.