Once the NFL lockout finally comes to an end, one of the first things expected to happen is a trade of Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles. While the market for quality starting quarterbacks is always strong, it’s widely expected that the Arizona Cardinals — after passing on a chance to draft Blaine Gabbert — are the front runner for Kolb’s services.
At the end of last season, most of the talk surrounding the struggling Cardinals was about the future of Larry Fitzgerald. The All-Pro wide receiver is entering the final year of a $40 million contract and made it clear he doesn’t plan on spending his prime watching the playoffs from home. If Arizona planned on a lengthy rebuilding effort, it would mean the end of Fitzgerald playing in the desert. To make sure they didn’t lose him for nothing at the end of 2011, the Cardinals no doubt would move him before the start of the season.
Though any market for Fitzgerald would also have no shortage of suitors, a reunion with Todd Haley — his former offensive coordinator — sure did seem like a perfect match. The Chiefs don’t bring to the table the multiple picks in 2012 like the New England Patriots, but they do own all of their own selection and are armed with a boatload of available cash to spend. With Fitzgerald being able to use a contract extension as his tool to direct a trade, Kansas City had to feel good about their chances if he were to become available.
If Kolb goes West to the Cardinals, any hope the Chiefs — or any other team — had of acquiring Fitzgerald would go out the window. No team is going to go all in with a new quarterback and then turn around and ship off his best weapon. Kolb joining the Cardinals is a sure sign to Fitzgerald they are committed to winning now and a new deal for the receiver won’t be far behind.
When the dust settles, maybe Kolb ends up in Washington, Seattle or some other darkhorse team and Haley can once again draw up plays for the league’s best wide receiver. However, with the safe money still on Arizona, the Chiefs will go forward with their own star receiver in Dwayne Bowe and first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin, a player that isn’t Fitzgerald but does own a unique set of skills.