Assuming the Owners and the NFLPA can’t stop acting like children, and a lockout, or decertification lawsuit lasts through this years April Draft what should the Eagles do with Kevin Kolb? The San Francisco 49’ers would be foolish to not offer more than anyone else for Kolb. Easily safest trade partner for the Eagles; there shouldn’t be any hidden negative surprises. Keep reading; there are a lot of things that make this trade seem logical, and probable.
Side tangent I thought I'd share first, since the majority of you aren't forced to listen to Arizona Sports Radio in the car, and it's slightly relevant:
Multiple Arizona radio media members, including the Cardinals sideline reporter, want the Cardinals to pull the trigger when they can for Kolb. Most of them think the Cards can get Kolb for just a 2nd rounder, one of them went so far as to say a 2012 2nd rounder. The media members out here seem to be undervaluing Kolb, the QB they so desire, but maybe they know something Eagles fans don’t. What do you guys think? He seems to be easily worth a mid 1st and a 3rd.
If Vick does get hurt, Kolb is not leading this team to the Superbowl, end of story; this offense is not what Kolb excels at, he’s tailor-made for a true West Coast Offense. It would be prudent for the Eagles to trade Kolb this off-season and maximize his value. A typical first impression of future draft picks that don’t have a set number yet initially scares most fans. The Eagles could end up trading Kolb for what they think will be a 12-18 area pick, and it turns out they get the 27th pick. That's a big risk, but there may be one option where the Eagles could get higher value 2012 picks for Kolb than 2011 picks.<!--EndFragment-->
Multiple people have brought up the fact that if there is a work stoppage it will probably extend into August at least before litigation would resolve the issues. Most people seem to think Jim Hrbaugh will take Blaine Gabbert with the 7th pick. That just doesn’t make sense though. Teams will have even less time to prepare their rookie QB’s for the season than they usually do, they aren’t going to spend as high of picks on them this off-season. Gabbert also doesn’t fit a spread offense QB doesn’t totally fit what Harbaugh wants to do offensively. Profootballtalk.com has run multiple stories about Jim Harbaugh wanting to bring a traditional West Coast Offense back to San Francisco; he’s been collecting old Bill Walsh tapes to help his 9’ers prepare.
It just seems like a spread offense rookie QB with maybe a month to learn a whole new kind of system doesn’t seem like a wise usage of the 7th pick.
The West Coast Offense is predicated on the pass first, run second mentality, where short passes within 15 yards keep the offense out of obvious pass and run situations. The main goal is keeping defenses true, wearing them down with the passing attack, then crushing them with the running game later. In 2007 when Kolb was drafted, the Eagles did not have Desean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin, and their offense was much less big play, and much more traditional WCO. Kolb was drafted and groomed to be the accurate mid ranged passer essential for running the WCO, starting to sound like there may be a team inclined to give up more than anyone else for Kolb?
The San Francisco 49’ers have most of the pieces of a playoff team in place. They have an above average defense, a great running back, and some pretty good receivers in Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Last draft the 49’ers spent two first round picks on OT Anthony Davis, and OG Mike Iupati, the only real piece missing in San Fran is a quarterback. San Francisco with Kolb would be a shoe in to win their division. Living in Arizona, I saw first hand how bad the NFC West is, I was embarrassed for the NFL while I was at a Seahawks, Cardinals game, there are no words for how bad the NFC West truly is. If Harbaugh is serious about reestablishing the values of Bill Walsh’s system then why wouldn’t he trade for a more proven, still young, potential franchise QB who was specifically drafted to run the offense you plan to run. Trading for Kolb also allows San Francisco to use the 7th overall this year on another offensive piece, say a Julio Jones, or whatever they think will help them the most with Kolb.
Now this isn’t a 49’ers piece, this is about why the Eagles also get the most out of sending Kolb to the Bay area. The Eagles will obviously ask for San Francisco’s 1st rounder in 2012, which would most likely be a playoff ranged mid to late 20’s pick. That doesn’t sound so great, but here is where the Eagles capitalize on Kolb’s value to the 9’ers. The Eagles, should, and most likely put escalators in for the 2nd pick they get for Kolb. Example, if the 49ers miss the playoffs the Eagles would get a 2012 4th. If San Francisco earned a wildcard spot in 2012, the Eagles would get San Fran’s 3rd rounder. If the 49’ers won the NFC West with Kolb, which there is no reason they shouldn’t with Kolb, the Eagles could get San Fran’s 2012 2nd rounder.
It doesn't seem unreasonable for San Francisco to give up this much, especially with all the reports of how interested multiple teams are in Kolb. No other team would offer this much in a bidding war, but San Francisco can’t afford not too. Kolb is the missing piece to their system out West; they need Kolb more so than any other team. They don’t have any glaring needs at the moment; they are the only possible trade partner that could justify trading a 1st and a 2nd in 2012 because it wouldn’t cripple their future like it did the year after the Browns traded up for Brady Quinn, and traded for Shawn Rodgers. This destination seems to be the best fit for Kolb, and the safest for the Eagles, predicting San Francisco’s picks with Kolb at QB. And if the pick isn’t what the Eagles expected, it can only get better, only upside, significantly less downside.
For all of the people doubting Kolb is worth this, the area he struggled in most as an Eagle this past season was stretching the field, but in a true WCO that shouldn’t be an issue. Kolb’s skill set is perfect for what it sounds like Harbaugh wants to do. Trading Kolb to Carolina, Arizona, Cleveland, Cincinnati, or any of the other suitors wouldn’t yield as much value, and is too unpredictable.
If you see any glaring errors, feel free to point them out, laugh, and blast me in a comment. Thanks for reading! Looking forward to hearing what you all think.