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Cards parting with Rodgers-Cromartie not because of Kevin Kolb

Greg Toler is a third-year pro out of Saint Paul’s college. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 draft, and in just two seasons has amassed 92 tackles and three interceptions.

Greg Toler is also the reason Arizona is trading Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to Philadelphia for Kevin Kolb.

Yes, the Cardinals need a quarterback. And sure, they’ve identified Kolb as the guy who can lead them in 2011 and beyond. Whether you believe that to be true or not, the fact of the matter is the Cardinals would not even think about trading Rodgers-Cromartie if it weren’t for the faith they have in the 26-year-old Toler.

For all their faults, one thing the Cards seem to have been pretty good at lately is planning for the future. They drafted Calais Campbell because they knew Antonio Smith was going to leave, they snagged Rashad Johnson in anticipation of Antrel Rolle’s departure, they took Early Doucet as Anquan Boldin insurance and they snagged Daryl Washington when they realized Karlos Dansby was going to command a larger contract than they wanted to offer.

Now, while the question of whether or not these moves have worked is up for debate (OK, maybe not, seeing as only Campbell can really be considered a success so far), but the point is the Cardinals, lately, have rarely been caught with their pants down, so to speak.

That’s the trick in the NFL. Teams draft players, develop them, and say adios when they are either too expensive or no longer needed. The strategy has served the Pittsburgh Steelers rather well, and the Cardinals are trying to do business in a similar fashion.

While Toler was not drafted to replace DRC, his growth as a corner has made the former first round pick expendable as far as the Cardinals are concerned. You may not buy into the idea of Toler being a starting cornerback, but the tools are certainly there.

Toler, after all, has good size at 6-feet, 192 pounds, good speed and a willingness to hit. He showed great improvement from year one to year two, and one would have to think his career is still trending upwards. The Cardinals obviously do.
Because, while the quarterback position is without a doubt more important than cornerback, it would make little sense for the Cardinals to weaken one area in order to strengthen another, especially when the defense isn’t exactly filled with playmakers.

Add in the fact that teams can always use more corners and it becomes obvious that while the coaches may covet Kolb and be souring on Rodgers-Cromartie, this exact move would not even have been considered had it not been for the presence of another young player who, much like Kolb, is just waiting for his chance to step up and show what he’s got. Oh, and bringing Patrick Peterson into the fold likely did nothing to discourage the team from pulling the trigger.

The smart organizations know when the time is right to part with a player and do their best to sell high when given the chance. The Cardinals and Eagles seem to be in a battle of this very idea themselves as they trade young, somewhat unproven players for each other. The Eagles are willing to part with Kolb because they already have a QB and don’t want to lose their backup for nothing,whereas the Cardinals will move DRC because they feel the need for a QB very much outweighs the risk of losing a talented corner.

And because they have Greg Toler ready to take his spot.