Kevin Kolb question is all about value

John Clayton's latest mailbag featured a question about the Eagles' quarterback situation -- specifically, why the Eagles are so set on trading Kevin Kolb instead of Michael Vick, if Kolb projects as the more long-term guy. Interesting question, really, and John answers it as follows:

The answer is the Eagles believe Vick is the quarterback who can get the Eagles back to the Super Bowl. To put Kolb on the market as they are, you get the feeling that they have questions about Kolb being the quarterback who can get them to the Super Bowl. Andy Reid and his staff believe they can make quarterbacks good, and they can make great quarterbacks elite. Remember how the Falcons traded Matt Schaub to Houston? He is now an elite quarterback, but he hasn't been able to get the Texans over the top. Kolb compares to Schaub, but the Eagles believe in Vick, and based on what we saw last year, they are right.

John is right, of course, but I think the thing that gets overlooked too easily in the Kolb question is the question of value. The Eagles aren't considering trading Kolb because he wants out, or because they don't like him, or even because they like Vick better. They're considering trading Kolb because they believe they can get great value for him.

It's simple. On the face of it, it makes little sense for the Eagles to trade Kolb. Vick is an injury risk, and in Kolb they have a guy they believe can step in and win them a game if Vick gets hurt. If they deal him, they'll have to replace him with someone else who fits that description. So the only reason to trade Kolb is if they believe they're getting more in return than it would be worth to them to keep him. He is not their starting quarterback, because Vick is better right now and the Eagles are a right-now team. But if some team (Arizona, Seattle, Miami, whoever) is willing to pay them a starting quarterback's price in exchange for Kolb, then it makes more sense for the Eagles to take that than to turn it down and keep him as a backup.

All indications are that the Eagles will get more in return for Kolb than his status as a backup quarterback justifies. There have even been some reports recently that indicate the compensation from the Cardinals' end is either agreed to or nearly so. The reason a Kolb deal feels like such a foregone conclusion isn't because the Eagles are desperate to be rid of him, but rather because (based on conversations they presumably had with teams prior to the lockout) they know they're going to get a great return for him. If they didn't know that, they'd be planning to keep him.