Mar 18, 2010, 3:29 PM EST
There's so much quarterback talk out there. Everybody has an opinion on what the Eagles will do, and what they should do. At this point though, nobody has a clue… but I can tell you what absolutely should not happen under any circumstances.
They should not keep all three quarterbacks. In fact, forget Vick. They should not keep both Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb, and I do not believe for one second they will.
How is it I am so certain? Just take a closer look at the logistics involved with holding on to both, and you see there is a serious possibility one of them will be able to walk away one year from now, while the Birds get nothing in return. Either way, that's a terrible investment.
The Eagles need to extend either McNabb or Kolb sometime between now and no later than mid-season. If the plan is to stick with 5 until the bitter end, there is no problem, beside the fact there are no reported discussions as of now. Regardless, once he signs, there is zero chance of Kolb returning next season. They may not even have the ability to squat on his rights if the unpopular franchise tag were eliminated under a new colelctive bargaining agreement, so it doesn't make any sense to hang on to him.
Maybe not the popular decision, but simple enough. It's working out a deal with Kolb that is potentially a problem. Put yourself in his shoes. The man wants to start. Why would he sign a contract extension with the Eagles as long as Donovan McNabb is on the roster? Because they "promise" him he's the man next season? That's a hypothetical situation of course, but even if that were the case, he doesn't have any reason to believe it's definite. Commit the prime of his career to a team clinging to its franchise quarterback? Not likely.
Finally, what happens to McNabb at the end of this season if the team intends to re-sign Kolb? He walks away, and the Eagles get nothing? Ideally the team would slap the franchise tag on Donovan and attempt to trade him then, but there are several issues with that, and at the top of the list is once again the possibility that the tag will no longer exist in 2011. Although no change is imminent, at the very least they shouldn't count on having that option.
For the sake of argument though, let's say they can and choose to do that. What happens if there are problems negotiating a contract with Kolb? It's reasonable to believe the two sides could be far apart, with the front office making the case he only has a couple starts under his belt, and Kolb's agent arguing they are dealing with their franchise QB, and it's a contract that will carry him through the prime of his career. All are correct.
Now the front office needs to choose which quarterback they tag. Do they hit Kolb, and allow McNabb to leave? It's downright foolish to get nothing in return. Or do they use it to stall McNabb, and risk Kolb reaching free agency and signing with a club willing to break the bank? All that grandstanding might be the diversion that causes Kolb to slip away, leaving them with a Donovan McNabb who is none too pleased with the franchise tag and their attempts to trade him. Let's just say I doubt he'll be willing to do them any favors.
It's a dangerous game, which is why the Eagles are playing it so close to the vest. Ultimately though, you see the one thing they cannot afford to do is wind up with the same trio of quarterbacks heading into next season. That scenario could cost them the opportunity to pick up some much needed draft picks to improve their club for whoever is under center the next bunch of years.
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