Kevin Kolb? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Every Seahawks fan agrees we need a new quarterback. When we need that new quarterback to play, who that quarterback should be, and how we should attain him is where there is massive disagreement. Out of that chaotic mess has come one scenario that appears to have more support than any other, trading for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Kolb is in his fourth NFL season, and was anointed the Eagles successor to Donovan McNabb after McNabb was traded to the Redskins. Kolb received a $12.26M contract extension through the 2011 season before this season began. He started in the Eagles opener, but was injured in the first half, allowing now MVP candidate Michael Vick to take the field. Vick was electric as soon as he took the field, but did yield the position to Kolb again due an injury of his own. Kolb played four straight games, going 2-2, and posting QB ratings 103.3 @SF and 133.6 vs. ATL. In two losses, his QB ratings were a pedestrian 76.0 and an ugly 56.9. His overall rating for the season is 85.3, which is very solid, especially for a 1st year starter. He has thrown for over 300 yards in three of the six times he has played a full game, including a mouth-watering 391 in his 1st career start last season against the Saints.

Kolb was a second-round pick in 2007, and is 26-years-old. He played college ball out of Houston where he threw for 12,964 yards, which ranked 5th all-time in NCAA history. With Michael Vick’s emergence, there is a lot of speculation that Philly will entertain offers for Kolb. It seems unlikely they will keep both past 2011, and hanging onto both next year would leave them with no compensation after one of them walks. Let the games begin.

The Seahawks need a young QB who is accurate and has a propensity for tossing the long ball. Check, check and check. It doesn’t hurt that he has been brought up under QB coach extraordinaire,  Andy Reid. Reid, as you may recall, started Matt Hasselbeck’s career. There would be some irony if he had a hand in ending it.

One can see why so many Seahawks fans are jumping on the Kevin Kolb bandwagon. I’m here to tell you it is extremely unlikely Kolb will ever pull on a Seahawks jersey. As we’ve all heard many times, players values are set by the market. Supply and demand is pretty darn simple. In this case, the demand for new franchise quarterbacks is at a crescendo. Teams like Arizona, San Francisco, Miami, Buffalo, Carolina, Washington, Seattle, Cleveland, Oakland, and Tennessee are all at varying levels of desperation for a new QB that can lead them to the promised land. Demand is high.

Supply? Not so much. This was shaping up to be a banner 2011 draft for quarterbacks, but possible #1 pick Jake Locker has scuffled to pre-Sarkisian performance and guys like Ryan Mallett, Cam Newton, and Christian Ponder all have serious flaws that make them big gambles. Andrew Luck is the surest bet, and will go to the team with the #1 pick. That removes one team from the list above. Figure another team or two will target a QB in the draft and pull out of the Kolb running as well. After all, history shows drafting a QB is far more successful than signing a free agent or trading for one.

Teams like SF and ARZ are less likely to consider the draft route. They have veterans either in their primes, or exiting their primes. There is no time to wait for a QB to develop. Teams like that are going to be willing to pay a higher bounty than a team still in an overall rebuilding mode, or one that has a viable alternative. Seattle falls in the latter category. Re-signing Matt Hasselbeck is still a better option than either ARZ or SF has in their own roster. Even if one of them goes after Hasselbeck, the other would still be in more desperate need than a Seattle team that just overpaid for Charlie Whitehurst one season ago.

A player like Kolb will require at least a first-round pick in return. If you are the Seahawks, would you really surrender the chance to draft a shutdown corner like Jimmy Smith just to have Kolb AND Whitehurst on the roster? Even if you would, that desire would have to fall short of what a team like SF would surrender to get him (not to mention keeping him from Seattle). San Francisco and Arizona have pretty competitive teams everywhere but the QB position. Seattle does not.

None of this is to say I wouldn’t want Kolb if we could get him. I might put myself in the category of being willing to outbid everyone and go all Herschel Walker on the Eagles to get him. I just don’t think the Seahawks would do that. More likely is they keep their draft picks and add a young QB prospect somewhere in there to try and develop. Re-signing Hasselbeck is still the right move if the team can’t get a player like Kolb. There are multiple paths to Heaven and to Hell for the Seahawks. The Kevin Kolb path to the promised land is likely the road less traveled.

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