After attempting to plug in four different quarterbacks last season, the Arizona Cardinals looked north to find what they hope is answer to their quarterback problems. The question: is Kevin Kolb that answer?
On Thursday, Arizona sent former Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Kolb, hoping they filled the sizable void left behind by the retirement of Kurt Warner. In addition to shipping a 25-year-old defensive back to the Eagles one season removed from a Pro Bowl appearance, the Cardinals gave Philadelphia another second-rounder one year after it fleeced the Washington Redskins for one in the Donovan McNabb trade. To its credit, Arizona immediately stepped up with a five-year contract worth over $60 M.
It was no secret that Arizona needed a quarterback in the worst way. In a league where a 60% completion rate is considered acceptable, the quartet of Derek Anderson, Richard Bartel, John Skelton and Max Hall combined to connect on just over 50% of their passes last season. By comparison, Kolb has a career 60.8% completion rate over parts of four seasons with the Eagles.
However, is Kolb worth the cost both in terms of his contract and the resources required to acquire his services? Despite his aforementioned accuracy, Kolb was 3-4 in his seven career starts for Philadelphia with a 10:13 TD-to-INT ratio. While one could say his opportunities to keep a starting job in NFL have been virtually non-existent, it is hard to defend anything less than a 1.5:1 TD-to-INT ratio throwing to the likes of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek, Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy over the years with the Eagles.
Perhaps the stability of a new contract and the certainty of a starting role will help Kolb fulfill expectations. More than that, however, is the knowledge that he will have the opportunity to throw to one of the league’s elite receivers in Larry Fitzgerald. Along with rookie surprise Andre Roberts and Early Doucet, the Cardinals will have a very capable receiving corps on par with the one he grew accustomed to as an Eagle.
Fantasy owners would be wise to tread carefully with Kolb despite the presence of Fitzgerald. There is substantial reason to doubt Kolb with his mediocre track record – albeit in limited time – so viewing him as anything more than a high-upside QB in 12-team leagues is probably wishful thinking.