Pat Yasinskas' QB Watch
October, 12, 2011
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com
US PresswireBig offseason splashes at the quarterback position haven't paid off for Arizona (Kevin Kolb), Philadelphia (Michael Vick) or Minnesota (Donovan McNabb).Aside from the drafting of Cam Newton, the biggest quarterback news of the offseason was the trade of Kevin Kolb to Arizona, the trade of Donovan McNabb to Minnesota, and Michael Vick signing a new six-year contract with Philadelphia.
How are those moves working out for the Cardinals, Vikings and Eagles?
In one categorical word: Disastrously.
Each team is 1-4, and each quarterback has been a big reason his team has struggled. Consider it proof that even if a guy has played well -- in limited or unlimited experience or has had success in a current system -- the buyer should beware when handing out huge currency for quarterbacks.
The Eagles gave Vick a contract worth $100 million, including $40 million guaranteed. The Vikings voided the remaining four years on McNabb's contract with the Redskins, but still agreed to pay him at least $5.05 million this season. McNabb also can earn an extra $2.25 million if certain playing-time and statistical incentives are met. Once the Cardinals got Kolb, they handed him a $10 million signing bonus and an extension through 2016 that averages $12.4 million per year.
But we're talking currency, not just money, when adding up the full tab on these three quarterbacks. The Cardinals shipped cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and their second-round draft pick in 2012 to the Eagles. The Vikings sent the Redskins their sixth-round pick in 2012 and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2013. In the case of Vick, the Eagles didn't have to give any player or draft-pick compensation to keep a player already on their team, but they invested a ton of salary-cap room at one position for six years.
What are they getting in return? Not much. Vick, who was better than he's ever been while starting 12 games last season, has been dreadful since leading the Eagles to a season-opening win against Baltimore. Through five games, he's committed 10 turnovers. All last season, he had nine.
Vick has put coach Andy Reid on the hot seat for putting all his eggs in one basket. But McNabb and Kolb seem to be doing their best to make their former coach look smart.
In 2009, McNabb, Vick and Kolb were all property of Philadelphia. Before last season, Reid decided to trade McNabb, his longtime starter, to Washington. He kept Vick and Kolb, and Vick emerged as the starter. That made it seem like Vick was the answer and the Eagles traded Kolb as soon as the lockout was lifted.
Reid knew McNabb better than anyone else and he shipped him off to Mike Shanahan, who knows a thing or two about quarterbacks. Shanahan quickly decided McNabb was washed up. But new Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier didn't heed the warning signs from Reid and Shanahan. He brought in McNabb to be a bridge until first-round draft pick Christian Ponder is ready.
McNabb's a bridge over troubled waters. He's thrown only four touchdown passes, been intercepted twice and sacked 11 times. But McNabb's looking like a gem compared to Kolb. In their head-to-head meeting Sunday, Minnesota defeated Arizona 34-10 in a game that had a lot more to do with Adrian Peterson and Minnesota's defense than McNabb.
Kolb threw two interceptions and was sacked four times. That's nothing new. In Arizona's first two games, he threw for four touchdowns and one interception. In his last three games, he's thrown for one touchdown and been intercepted five times.
The Eagles, who once seemed to have an embarrassment of riches at quarterback, simply have been an embarrassment. So have the Vikings and Cardinals, who aren't getting anything close to what they paid for.