Is Kolb worth the money?

  • By John Boyle Herald Writer
  • Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

RENTON — The Seahawks hope they were right about the quarterback they acquired in the offseason.

The Cardinals need to be.

When Arizona plays Seattle on Sunday, it will be an NFC West matchup between two teams led by new quarterbacks, but there is a big difference between the two teams’ situations at the position.

Obviously the Seahawks want Tarvaris Jackson to succeed, and they believe he can, otherwise they wouldn’t have signed him when the lockout ended. Should Jackson not pan out, however, his signing won’t cripple the franchise. The Cardinals, however, can’t afford to be wrong about Kevin Kolb. Not after what they gave up to get him and how much they’re paying him.

Kolb, who was Philadelphia’s starter at the beginning of last season but Michael Vick’s backup for most of it, was a hot commodity on the trade market this offseason. By Kolb’s own estimation, eight teams, Seattle included, were interesting in his services. Eventually it was Arizona that landed him, sending the Eagles a second-round pick in next year’s draft, as well as cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who was a Pro Bowler in 2009. In addition to that steep price, Arizona signed Kolb to a five-year contract worth up to $63.5 million with $21 million in guaranteed money.

And given Arizona’s struggles at quarterback last year after Kurt Warner retired — surely you remember the trio of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton — it’s easy to see why the Cardinals were willing to make a big move at the position.

“Well, we didn’t have a very good year last year at that position and it was something that we knew we wanted to address,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ” … We liked a couple guys that were free agents and we liked a couple guys that were potential trade guys, so we were aggressive in our pursuit. We had Kevin rated the highest of all of the guys and when we had the opportunity to pursue that once the lockout ended, that’s what we did.”

The Seahawks also were interested in Kolb, both this offseason and prior to last season, when the Eagles had Vick, Kolb and Donovan McNabb. After McNabb was traded, the price went up on Kolb, and the Seahawks said no thanks.

“Just compensation and amount and all the stuff,” Carroll said when asked why the Seahawks didn’t acquire Kolb. “It was a big consideration. He’s a very good player. We thought that from the start and were always in the thought that he would be a guy that we would be interested in for the future, but it just didn’t work out right.”

Instead, Arizona made a big move for Kolb, and now the former second-round pick is finally the undisputed starter, something he never really enjoyed in Philadelphia.

“It’s great,” Kolb said. “I’ve never had that since I’ve been in the NFL. That’s something that I missed. It’s obviously something that I wanted to get to.”

And so far it has been good times for Kolb in Arizona. The Cardinals are 1-1, though they feel like they let one get away in Washington last weekend. Kolb has thrown four touchdowns with just one interception for a 110.3 quarterback rating. And given what the Cardinals gave up to get Kolb, they better hope he keeps producing. If Kolb doesn’t work out in Arizona, his acquisition would be a big setback for the franchise. Still, Kolb said he doesn’t feel any extra pressure.

“Not really because regardless of what they gave me or gave up for me, I was coming here with the same mentality — hey, I want to be here a long time, I want to be the starter, I want to be a franchise guy,” he said. “That’s what every quarterback that comes in the league wants to do.”

Seattle, meanwhile, is 0-2 under Jackson, though the offense’s struggles have largely been beyond his control. The Seahawks believe in Jackson, but are still in a position to make changes at that position if they see fit next year. Jackson will make $4 million this year and next year, hardly big money by quarterback standards, and Seattle did not have to give up anything to sign him. In other words, if Jackson doesn’t work out, Seattle could draft a quarterback next year or sign one in free agency without feeling bound to this year’s starter for the future.

That’s not the case in Arizona.

Injury update

Receiver Sidney Rice practiced without limitations Wednesday, and could make his Seahawks debut Sunday if he gets through the week without problems.

“He’s doing everything, and we’ll see how it works out and how he takes the practice today,” Carroll said. “He’ll get banged around a little bit, so we’ll find out how he responds. He looks like he’s ready to go, his mentality is, he’s ready to go. He’s not even thinking about anything other than that, but we’ll have to make a good decision on that when that time comes. We’re day-to-day on this deal with him.”

Fullback Michael Robinson (ankle) did not practice, but could return later in the week, Carroll said. Cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle) is expected to miss a second straight game with an ankle injury.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog.

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