Eagles should kick off new league year by trading Kolb

It's been out there for a while that whenever the 2011 league year starts, the Philadelphia Eagles will be making a real effort to deal Kevin Kolb.

What's been a little bit quieter is this fact: From a logistical standpoint, they might not have much of a choice. That is, if they want to get fair value for him after gifting Michael Vick a Brink's truck later in the offseason.

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The 2010 franchise number was set at about $16 million, and there's a chance that new deals for Vick, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees could send that figure through the roof. And for the Eagles to hang on to Kolb after this year, since he surely wouldn't re-sign in a place without full assurances he's the starter, they'd have to use the tag on him.

That would mean a couple of things from a practical standpoint.

First, they'd need to pull off a trade quickly, ideally before the 2012 league year was to begin, to keep their cap in order for the start of free agency. And second, whatever team the Eagles planned to trade him to would be put in a hole from a negotiating standpoint (as the Chiefs were to a degree with Matt Cassel, with his tag number of $14.65 million in 2009) in trying to get a long-term deal, because of the heavy number on the front the quarterback would have to negotiate off of.

Both circumstances hamstrung the Patriots in dealing Cassel two years ago, forcing them to quicken the process. In the end, a couple quarterback-needy teams quietly lamented that New England moved too quickly and whispered they would've been interested if they'd known the going rate was just a second-round pick. But part of it was that New England felt it had to move quickly.

Anyway, the scenario outlined above hardly puts a team in a position to extract maximum value when trying to deal a player. And so it behooves the Eagles to deal off Kolb now and avoid all that.

At the very least, it does seem that the Eagles have a young quarterback, in Mike Kafka, they're comfortable with, if Vick's style of play again causes injury problems that summon the backup into duty. Which gives Joe Banner, Howie Roseman and Andy Reid plenty of reason, outside of just doing right by the player, to grant Kolb his wish to pursue a starting job somewhere else.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @albertbreer.

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