Kevin Kolb could be spreading his wings elsewhere next season.
There's still the longshot possibility that the Eagles don't trade QB Kevin Kolb. They could always keep him as a backup and then franchise/trade him after next season. But there's really no reason not to pull the trigger as soon as the NFL Lockout is lifted.
The situation is strikingly similar to last year's decision to trade former franchise QB Donovan McNabb. Sure, the team could have kept McNabb another year, but his value would have only declined and their leverage in trading would have only decreased. The Eagles maximized their return and moved on to the future. I expect they'll do that again as soon as possible.
Here's a breakdown of Kolb's possible destinations, starting with the least likely.
Packers, Steelers, Jets, Bears, Patriots, Falcons, Ravens, Saints, Colts, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Giants, Chargers, Rams, Lions, Texans, Cowboys: I can't invent a realistic scenario in which any of these teams were ever in the market for Kolb. 100-1 odds for the whole group.
Jaguars, Vikings, Titans, 49ers, Bengals, Panthers: All of these teams would have been contenders, but are effectively wiped out by their high selections of quarterbacks in last month's NFL Draft. At most they'll need a caretaker quarterback, but there are better options for that with McNabb, Marc Bulger, Carson Palmer, Jake Delhomme, and others likely to hit the market. 9-1 for this pack.
Raiders, Dolphins, Redskins, Bills, Broncos: Jason Campbell, Chad Henne, Rex Grossman, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Orton. If you were an NFL general manager, would you be comfortable relying on any of these quarterbacks? I certainly wouldn't. But none of them seem like particularly good bets for Kolb at this point. The Raiders don't want a West Coast guy, the Dolphins only want a challenger for Henne, the Redskins aren't dealing with the Eagles again, the Bills seem content with Fitzpatrick, and John Elway already has three QBs competing in Denver. 7-1 for all five.
Browns: Tom Heckert and Cleveland were linked to Kolb a few times last offseason, and now they've added former Eagles quarterback coach Pat Shumur. Plus, they have an extra 2012 first round pick. A match made in heaven! Apparently not. After NFL Network's Mike Lombardi stoked the flames of a possible deal, the Browns moved quickly to put them out. Perhaps they want to give Colt McCoy a full season tryout before they move on. 7-1.
Seahawks: Another team supposedly interested in Kolb last year when the Eagles wouldn't trade him, Seattle still hasn't resolved its issues under center. Matt Hasselbeck hasn't been a starting-caliber QB since 2007 and Charlie Whitehurst doesn't inspire much confidence as a replacement. Let's peg them at 3-1 odds.
Cardinals: Arizona is the front-runner for Kolb because, despite probably the worse group in the NFL (Derek Anderson, Max Hall, and John Skelton), the Cardinals have done absolutely nothing to remedy their QB situation. Nor have they really expressed any even token support for the players on their roster right now. They know they need a solution, and aren't even trying to prove otherwise. At this point they're probably 2-1 favorites for Kolb.
Disagree? Let the debate rage in the comments.