In a league starved for quarterbacks, with teams praying for some continuity at the position, the Eagles have options at the quarterback position. Is this the offseason in which they make the long-term decision and settle in with either Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb? For good? No turning back?
With 16 pending free agents, with some clearly-defined needs on the roster -- cornerback, defensive line, offensive line -- quarterback again tops the agenda. There are plenty of factors to consider here, and plenty of ways the Eagles can take this thing, so there are many things to consider before the Eagles decide.
Certainly, Michael Vick played his way into the present and the future for this football team. He accounted for 30 touchdowns -- 21 passing, 9 rushing -- in 12 games, including 11 starts at quarterback and, really, considering the first Green Bay game and the home game against Washington, 11 full games of action.
His production was remarkable. His play was outstanding and Vick's leadership lifted the team from a 2-2 start to a division title. It is fair to expect that Vick's best days are ahead of him as he continues to develop as a complete quarterback and as the Eagles add necessary upgrades to the offense around him.
Vick, it would seem is the logical choice to be the quarterback for 2011 and beyond.
At the same time, Kolb is an undeniable talent. He has a ways to go to develop his game to its high-end potential, but he has the touch and the accuracy and the delivery to carve defenses to pieces as he did to San Francisco and to Atlanta. Kolb had his rough moments in 2010, no doubt about it, but that was to be expected. Every quarterback needs to endure and overcome the spotty patches before they rise to the top.
If Vick is the starter here, Kolb can certainly be a starter on every team out there looking for an answer at the most important position on the field. Kolb has expressed his desire to start, whether he does so in Philadelphia or with another team. And it is reasonable to assume that teams will call, if they haven't already, inquiring about Kolb.
So if the Eagles go with Vick, what do they do with Kolb? They can retain him as a valuable backup at a reasonable price. That means asking Kolb to back up at quarterback for a fifth season. He is the ultimate team player and has demonstrated that for years, but you wonder how he would react in such a situation.
Or, the Eagles could deal Kolb and acquire draft picks and add to the impressive depth of young talent on the roster. What would Kolb fetch in a trade? A couple of high draft picks? A first-round selection? More? Who knows?
If the Eagles were to go in that direction and deal Kolb, they would have to make sure they are sound at quarterback behind Vick. Would second-year man Mike Kafka be prepared to play, and win, in the event that Vick is injured for a stretch of games? Are there some quality backup quarterbacks who would fit into this scheme and buy the Eagles a year or two of time to allow Kafka time for more seasoning?
Of course, the assumption here is that Vick returns. Head coach Andy Reid said on Monday that he would like both Vick and Kolb as Eagles in 2011, but the truth is that, like last year when the Eagles didn't know they were going to trade Donovan McNabb until they did so in April, the Eagles haven't made concrete plans to this point.
They, unlike the fans and the media, proceed at an intelligent, rational pace and consider every angle and exhaust all options before making such monumental decisions. There is no need to have an answer right at this very moment, no matter how much you and I want to know right now what is going to happen next.
The good news is that the Eagles have options. They have assets. They have a strong hand of cards to play whenever it is time to sit at the table and wheel and deal.