Commentary

Who is this year's Kevin Kolb?

Soon enough, NFL teams could be bidding on this set of less-heralded quarterbacks

Originally Published: August 11, 2011
By Chris Sprow | ESPN Insider
Jimmy Clausen and Matt Flynn Getty ImagesWill Jimmy Clausen and Matt Flynn become two hot trading commodities?

Backup quarterbacks in the NFL can be like Costco samples -- you give some people a taste, and next thing you know they've picked up a six-year supply. But it's hard to predict just which sample people will take the plunge with. Consider these lines:

QB A: Born 1983; 3,984 yds, 58.7 completion percentage, 24 TD, 22 INT, 10-10 in 20 career starts
QB B: Born 1984; 2,082 yds, 60.8 completion percentage, 7 TD, 7 INT, 3-4 in seven career starts

Although neither of the above career lines hints at stardom, Quarterback A has more of a track record. He is Tarvaris Jackson, and he just got a two-year, $8 million deal with Seattle. Quarterback B is Kevin Kolb, who just bagged a deal that could top out at $65 million. Why did Kolb's deal come with such fanfare and Jackson's so little? Perhaps Costco should get Andy Reid to push samples of their slow-moving brands.

The Kolb trade marked the third time that Reid has flipped an expendable QB for deals built around a valuable second-round pick. First there was A.J. Feeley to Miami, then Donovan McNabb to Washington and now Kolb who, along with the pick, netted Philly a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. And it might tell us something. Maybe if you're willing to deal with a little quarterback drama and market your backup as a potential star, you will have a lot of other teams thinking: Why can't he be a solution for us? The cliched phrase, "He could start for a lot of other teams" can be worth a lot.

"There's definitely some tact to it," said an NFC evaluator. "Questioning your own guys can bite you."

Look at Kolb and Jackson. Although Jackson has more experience and success than Kolb, he never truly wore the "long-term solution" label in Minnesota. After a year in which he went 8-4 as a starter, the Vikings weren't convinced and, for two straight years, openly begged Brett Favre to take the reins. Amidst their own transition, the Eagles grabbed Mike Vick in aww-shucks fashion, dealt McNabb and while dealing with some drama, never shot down the idea that Kolb couldn't be an effective starter, or even a star. If you make it clear you believe in your QB, even if it's a charade, somebody else might as well -- and then pay for him.

So which quarterbacks currently lurking in the background figure to be the next Kolb? Here's a list, small sample sizes be damned.