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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
On whether Cardinals have legit plan at QB

By Mike Sando

Anthony Becht closed out his 10-year NFL career with the St. Louis Rams (2008) and Arizona Cardinals (2009). He knows the NFC West.

Count the veteran tight end among former Arizona employees taking shots at the team's approach.

The Twitter account for Becht described the Cardinals as "sweating" and the Philadelphia Eagles as "in control" during trade talks for quarterback Kevin Kolb. There was praise for other teams as "proactive" in their quarterback searches after having months to formulate plans. There were harsh words for what was characterized as an unwillingness to pay for Marc Bulger last offseason (Becht and Bulger were teammates with the Rams).

Former players sometimes carry grudges. That could be the case here. Arizona cut Becht before last season. But these criticisms against the Cardinals have become familiar. The organization earned a negative reputation over the decades and hasn't fully shaken it despite clear progress in recent seasons.

Rather than rehash the merits of those criticisms in general, I'd like to consider the Cardinals' approach to Kolb in particular. My take Tuesday night was that Arizona should take its time in courting Kolb because the Eagles appeared to have few, if any, additional suitors for him. I thought Arizona would be wise to consider pursuing Kyle Orton and free-agent quarterbacks such as Matt Hasselbeck, if only to drive down the price for Kolb.

But Becht brings up good points, too: Getting the right quarterback is ultimately the most important thing, and if the Cardinals lose out, then what? Hasselbeck has already agreed to terms with Tennessee. The price for Orton could be higher than the Cardinals want to pay.

For now, we do not know for sure what Arizona is offering for Kolb. We only know the Cardinals need another quarterback, the Eagles need to trade Kolb or risk getting nothing for him next year, other teams are addressing the position and market forces could influence the price Kolb ultimately commands.

The Cardinals should not rush into a costly deal with Kolb as long as other options remain available to them. There's a right time to act and I'm not convinced that time has passed. But if the Cardinals wait too long and miss out on a viable quarterback, Becht and other critics will have an even easier time saying the team lacked a plan all along.

Note: I've reached out to Becht and hope to follow up with him. I've also confirmed his Twitter identity through 1040 AM ESPN Tampa Bay, which has employed him recently.