It’s still far too soon to render judgment on Kevin Kolb, but the Eagles need to make a decision by this Tuesday. Granted, they don’t need to make their final decision between Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb, which can wait until the end of the season. What the Eagles really need to do is decide whether to decide now or later.
Rest assured that the Eagles will get phone calls from other NFL teams early this week, before Tuesday’s trade deadline, about the availability of their two quarterbacks.
The most likely outcome remains that the Eagles will choose to keep both Vick and Kolb until the end of the season, then make their choice for the future. Either way, there are risks.
If the Eagles wait until the end of the year, then choose to keep Kolb for the long-term, they will get minimal value in a trade for Vick since his contract expires a few months after the end of the season. Then again, if they choose now, they’ll be making a less informed decision, having basically seen two games and change from each signal caller.
Meanwhile, from Kolb’s perspective, Sunday’s contest is a big opportunity to showcase himself. With Vick likely to return either next week or after the bye, this could be Kolb’s last chance this season to prove his worth – whether it’s to the Eagles or the bevy of teams searching for a quarterback.
So, limited sample size or not, what’s the verdict on Kolb so far? Well, if you project his statistics over a 16 game season using the Eagles’ average of 34 passes per game, here’s what you’d get: 344-of-544 passing for 3,421 yards, 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. His completion percentage and passer rating would remain unchanged at 63 percent and 84.2.
Not staggering numbers by any stretch, but not bad either. Then you have to take into account the Eagles’ porous offensive line, second worst in the NFL in both sacks and quarterback hits, to only the Bears. Ask Jay Cutler about that Chicago offensive line, and if he wasn’t hit hard enough to forget being sacked an NFL record nine times in one half against the Giants, he’ll remember that it’s pretty disgraceful.
It’s reasonable to say that Kolb, more of a pocket passer than Vick, would be putting up better numbers than he has so far with even average protection. That also doesn’t factor in the rhythm that would come from being an every day starter. So with all of that in mind, Kolb’s shown enough to demonstrate that he’s got a bright future in the NFL.
The other question surrounds his trade value should Philadelphia choose to keep Vick and move Kolb either now or at the end of the season. Two trades stand out as setting a precedent for the value, both involving young, promising quarterbacks who hadn’t had too much of a chance to play and prove themselves.
In 2001 the Packers traded Matt Hasselbeck to the Seahawks along with their first round draft pick, 17th overall, and a seventh round pick. In return, Green Bay received the 10th overall pick and a 3rd rounder. At the time, Hasselbeck was 13-of-19 for 145 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in his career as Brett Favre’s backup.
According to the NFL draft value chart, the seven first round spots are worth the equivalent of a late second round pick. Seventh round picks are virtually worthless in trade value, making the return on Hasselbeck equal to a second and third round pick.
In 2007, Atlanta dealt Matt Schaub to Houston for two second round draft picks. The Falcons also moved up from 10th to 8th in the first round as part of the deal, a move worth a high fourth round selection.
Schaub’s numbers were very similar to Kolb’s current career numbers, completing 84-of-161 passes for 1,033 yards, 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Kolb is 127-of-206 for 1,363 yards, 6 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
With that in mind, Kolb would likely garner at least two second round picks in a trade, perhaps even a first round pick. According to the draft value chart, two picks in the middle of the second round are worth a total of 840 points. The 20th overall pick is worth 850.
So a lot could be at stake as Kolb and the Eagles face the Falcons Sunday. NFC bragging rights are up for grabs, as well as playoff positioning through a third of the season. But Kolb will also be putting his skills on display for the Eagles and the league, hoping to find a starting spot by next year. Should that be outside of Philadelphia, a solid performance against Atlanta would help to solidify Kolb’s value in a trade.
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