May 2, 2011, 1:34 PM EDT
Technically, the NFL lockout is over. Maybe it will be reenacted, maybe not, but at this very moment, only the league thinks this thing is still on. What can stop an intrepid team such as the Eagles from making moves?
While it would be extremely unpopular among a group of owners desperately calling for timeout, the Eagles absolutely should use this window to make at least one move. If they can find a willing partner, the Eagles should trade Kevin Kolb today, and collect their compensation of 2011 draft picks.
Why not? Nobody is suggesting the Eagles go completely AWOL, and open their doors for workouts, or start signing free agents—though it would be nice. This is merely swapping one player’s rights for another.
Chances are the NFL would deny their request, but who knows? By not authorizing a trade, or really, by preventing any franchise from operating like normal, the league risks violating the law. Up to this point, maybe they can argue not enough time has passed to reasonably enforce the court’s ruling, but how easily can they make such a case once that first trade comes across the commissioner’s desk?
It’s also entirely possible the Eagles would be unable to find a partner; not at this late date, not in this uncertain climate. Even if a trade was miraculously completed, the lockout could resume as early as tomorrow, and the club that acquired Kolb is stuck with a new quarterback they can’t see or speak to. For how long is anybody’s guess.
And good luck finding another owner who will break from the rest of them, or convincing Jeffrey Lurie for that matter.
But the Eagles are getting screwed here, and this is their only chance. Sure, Kolb will be worth roughly the same after the draft as he is before it, but how much better could they be within the next two seasons if they had those picks this year?
It might be one of the most controversial trades of all time, but it’s completely justifiable. Why shouldn’t any club in a similar situation trade players for picks today? There are no adjustments to the terms of existing contracts. The only thing that changes is which team owns the players’ rights.
Worst case scenario: maybe the deal gets blocked. Otherwise, all St. Roger Goodell and the NFL’s team of attorneys can do is put on their frowny faces and wag a collective finger at the Eagles.
Is it going to happen? Of course not. Based on the emails the Eagles are sending fans, the franchise is firmly entrenched with the other owners, who are intent on reversing the court’s decision. Exchanging Kolb for picks today would be the best possible thing for the team though, which is all that matters in this space.
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