Kevin Kolb a franchise QB? Since when?
After a long search, plenty of waiting and a lot of waiting, the Arizona Cardinals will finally, officially, get their starting quarterback for the 2011 season.
And, if all indications are to be believed, the guy they get will not only be the starter this year, but for every season in the foreseeable future.
Kevin Kolb, it is thought, has the ability to be a "franchise quarterback," someone who can successfully lead a team, the type of player the Cardinals can build around.
I just wonder why.
At 26-years-old (Kolb will be 27 when the season starts) it is not as if he is incredibly young with plenty of room to grow. No, Kolb has been in the league for four seasons since being drafted in the second round out of Houston.
And, in those four years, Kolb has tossed a meager 11 touchdowns against 14 interceptions, with a completion percentage of about 61 and a yards-per-attempt average of 6.5. The first two numbers are nothing to be proud of, the latter two aren't bad. But still, not franchise-worthy.
Then again, Kolb has just seven career starts under his belt, so maybe it's the fact that he's just waiting for his chance to be some team's starting quarterback. Well, he had that chance, just one season ago. The Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to make room for Kolb who promptly got injured in the first game of the season after completing just five of 10 passes for 24 yards.
Sure, the fact that Michael Vick took over and resuscitated his career shouldn't be an indictment of Kolb's abilities, but we in the Valley witnessed a similar situation and were mostly happy to run Matt Leinart out of town. Why is it different for Kolb?
Well, from what I gather, it's out of desperation.
The Arizona Cardinals have never had a true, bona-fide franchise quarterback. Yes, Jake Plummer guided the team for six seasons, most of which we'd all like to forget. A franchise quarterback? Not quite.
Sadly, though, as as my colleague Espo points out, Arizona Cardinals history is not really filled with world-class signal callers. Besides Plummer the only other one to have any kind of success in the Valley is Kurt Warner, and his greatness only lasted for two-and-a-half seasons. Though his ability was certainly franchise QB worthy, his time at the helm was not.
So yes, the search for a true franchise quarterback has been going on for the better part of the last two decades, now reaching into its third. Is Kolb the guy? Cardinal fans hope so, and it appears the team itself wants him to be. But you can't wish Kolb into being a franchise QB; he either is or he isn't. He's done very little in his career that would make anyone think he's nothing more than a decent player, and if Kolb is not much more than what he's been the Cardinals are going to be sorely disappointed. After all, you do not trade a player like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and high draft picks for the right to give a big contract to someone who is probably more A.J. Feely than he is Matt Schaub.
The issue, of course, is that the very desperation that seems to be leading the Cardinals to Kolb will cause them to miss out on some pretty solid options.
Is Kyle Orton what one would consider a franchise quarterback? Not a chance. But the veteran, who is just two years older than Kolb, has already proven himself to be capable of leading a team and putting up big numbers. He'd even cost less than Kolb. But again, he's not a franchise guy, so he's not exactly an exciting prospect for some.
Matt Hasselbeck, Carson Palmer and Marc Bulger are veterans who, if they're even available, certainly wouldn't be around for more than a couple of seasons. So, while they may be effective and get the Cardinals back to the playoffs, there is no chance any of them would be a franchise QB for Arizona. Out of anyone, the only other player who could be considered a franchise QB is John Skelton, but while he may develop into a quality starting quarterback in the future there is no way last year's fifth can be counted on this season.
Then again, everyone seems as concerned with 2014 as they are 2011. While it would be great if the Cardinals could find a long-term answer at the position Tuesday, that guy just does not seem to be out there. However, there are plenty of players who would be considered a massive upgrade over Derek Anderson (you know, because they are actually NFL-caliber QBs,) and next year's draft is going to be filled with top-notch options at the position.
The Cardinals seem ready to ignore all that, instead choosing to rush into trading for a player who they hope is the long-term option, if only because they want him to be.
Unfortunately touchdowns and wins are not made out of hopes and dreams.