Our long national nightmare is over. QB Kevin Kolb is a Cardinal in exchange for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft pick, according to John Clayton. Clayton also reports that the new contract Kolb will get to play quarterback for the Cardinals is a five-year, $63 million deal that includes more than $22 million in guarantees.
And the consensus first reaction seems to be that the Eagles pulled some kind of Jedi mind trick on the Cardinals and fleeced them. Which is fine. This is an NFC East blog, after all, so the perspective is likely to be Eagles-tinted. And Philadelphia did do well, getting the starting cornerback they needed, plus a high pick, in exchange for a backup quarterback who had one year left on his contract.
But as is the case with so many things in life, an honest appraisal of this deal depends on your perspective and might not be possible for a number of years.
If you're the Eagles, who want to win this next Super Bowl, you feel great about this. Michael Vick is your starting quarterback, you weren't using Kolb and you got great value for him. A starting corner and a second-round pick for a backup quarterback. You take that deal every single time.
But what if you're the Cardinals, and you really think Kevin Kolb is your present and future answer at the most important position on the field? What if the Cardinals are right, and Kolb really does turn out to be a good starting NFL quarterback -- one who deserves that kind of money. As recently as a year ago, Eagles coach Andy Reid was so willing to bet on Kolb as an NFL starter that he traded Donovan McNabb to a division rival and installed Kolb as his starter for Game 1 of the 2010 season. Had Kolb not been hurt in the first game, he could have played great (as Reid believed he could) and this whole Vick thing might never have happened.
Clearly, that's where the Cardinals are with Kolb. Whether they're right or wrong remains to be seen. But Arizona compensated the Eagles not as if they were getting a backup quarterback, but as if they were getting a starter -- and a long-term one at that. That's the bet they're placing, and if they turn out to be right, then the price they paid today will look anything but silly in retrospect. If Kolb becomes what the Cardinals think he can -- and what Reid thought he could at this time last year -- we could end up looking back on this deal and thinking it was the Eagles who got taken.