by Michael Lombardi
February 10, 02010
QUOTE: “Every man in the world is better than someone else and not as good as someone else.” -- William Saroyan
When Mike Holmgren first went to Green Bay in 1992, the first personnel action the organization took was to make a trade for quarterback Brett Favre. Even though Favre was drafted in the second round, Packers GM Ron Wolf and Holmgren both thought enough of him to part with a first-round pick to acquire him from the Falcons. Then, when Holmgren moved to Seattle, he took some time before he made another trade for a quarterback, acquiring Matt Hasselbeck from his former team, the Packers. Hasselbeck was originally a sixth-round pick, but Holmgren was more than willing to pay a first-rounder for his rights because he knew the centerpiece of the organization had to be the quarterback. Now, with Holmgren in Cleveland and again faced with uncertainty at quarterback, the question remains: What will he do at quarterback?
Is the draft an option, or is making a trade? I’m not sure the draft is a viable option for the Browns, based on the talent available. With all the recent speculation, it appears that trade rumors are running rampant in Cleveland, many centering on the Philadelphia Eagles. The Birds have two quarterbacks (Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb) who may be of interest to Holmgren and his new general manager, Tom Heckert, who also came from Philadelphia. In spite of all the talk, it would be hard for me to imagine that McNabb would not agree to a contract extension to join the Browns, nor would it be hard to imagine the Browns would trade for McNabb without an extension. So that leads me to believe if the Browns have interest in an Eagles quarterback, it would have to center mostly on Kolb. Heckert loved Kolb when he was in Philadelphia, was responsible for drafting him and can accurately describe him to Holmgren with regard to work habits, character and, most important, his potential as a full-time starter.
So what’s Kolb worth? I’m sure if the Browns offered their first-round pick, the seventh overall, they would get the Eagles’ full attention. But do they have to offer that much? Better yet, is Kolb worth that much? The Eagles might say that’s not enough, but they also once said they’d never take less than a two for Lito Sheppard, so we know if the Browns offered that pick, the deal is done. I strongly doubt that will happen, but what if the Browns offered Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers for Kolb?
Don’t laugh. This kind of deal would allow the Eagles to close the gap between them and the Cowboys. Even Eagles president Joe Banner admitted Tuesday in his talk with the team’s Web site that there’s a gap. Here’s what he said: “I don’t think the difference is as dramatic as one may think just looking at the scores of those two games, but there is a gap there. We have to figure out how to close that gap and be ready to go next year.” For me, the gap is in the Eagles defense, specifically their front seven where, other than Trent Cole, they don’t have a player who can win a one-on-one matchup against the Cowboys’ line.
Rogers would be a gap closer on the field. He would give the Eagles a dominating inside player, something they don’t currently have on their roster and someone who can match up with the Cowboys’ size along their offensive line. Rogers is signed to a long-term deal, he’s kept his weight down and he was a model citizen in Cleveland last season — all of which would be appealing to the Eagles. Kolb gives the Browns a future quarterback, something Holmgren knows he needs, without having to part with a draft pick. This trade might be a win/win for both teams.
If the Eagles add Rogers and then sign potential free agent defensive end Julius Peppers of the Panthers (they were not a final-eight team, so they can sign anyone), they would do more that close the gap on the Cowboys -- they would pass them. The Eagles will be one of the teams pursuing Peppers since his kind of game would fit perfectly with their defense and give them a blue-chip front seven player.
If the Eagles make these two moves, they’ll be a final four team next season, regardless of what they do in the draft. In fact, they can use the draft to help them find a young quarterback to replace the departed Kolb. They know they must close the gap, which is the first step.
These moves make sense to me. What do you think?
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