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Eagles have history of letting QBs go at right time

by | CBSSports.com Senior Writer

No sooner had the Kevin Kolb-to-Arizona deal been finalized than critics started shredding the Cardinals, complaining that they'd been fleeced. But you don't get fleeced if you get what you want, and if Kolb solves a glaring weakness and makes the Cardinals a winner again it's irrelevant what they sacrificed.

They scored a bull's eye.

Nevertheless, there might be reason to worry about this deal, and it has less to do with Kolb than it does the team that just dispatched him. When the Philadelphia Eagles give up on quarterbacks, they not only know what they're doing; they usually gain more than fair-market value for them, and let me offer two examples.

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First, there's A.J. Feeley. He was the Eagles' third-stringer in 2002, and he stepped in after starter Donovan McNabb and backup Koy Detmer were hurt that season to win four of five starts and guide the Eagles to the playoffs. That was enough to convince Miami he could start for them, and the Dolphins responded in 2004 by dealing a second-round draft pick for Feeley.

So what happened? What happened is that Feeley washed out, playing so poorly in 2004 (11 touchdowns, 15 interceptions) that he was back in Philadelphia within two years -- this time as a free agent.

Then, of course, there's McNabb. He was the Eagles' starter for over a decade, leading them to four straight conference championship games, but when he had a year left on his contract the club was faced with a decision: Keep him and try to reach the Super Bowl one more time or trade him to the highest bidder.

So the Eagles moved again. This time they swung a deal with Washington, gaining second- and fourth-round choices in return, and you know what happened. Like Feeley, McNabb fizzled as a starter and was dealt the following season. He was traded to Minnesota on Thursday for two sixth-round draft picks.

So now we have Kevin Kolb going to Arizona for a young cornerback and a second-round draft pick, and if I'm the Cardinals, yeah, I'm at least wary. I mean, if there's a lesson here it's that when Andy Reid and the Eagles give up on quarterbacks they usually gain the advantage. Feeley is out of the league. McNabb is out of Washington. And Kolb?

Let's see what happens. As I said, if he's the quarterback who tore apart Atlanta last season the Cardinals will have made the right move. The compensation doesn't matter. You go nowhere in this league without a competent quarterback, and until Kolb showed up the Cardinals didn't have one. So they paid a steep price, and it may be worth it.

But beware. I've heard those words before, and they're from clubs that have acquired quarterbacks from the Eagles ... and then regretted it.


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