RENTON, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks won’t just see the path not chosen on Sunday afternoon, they will face it when Kevin Kolb drops back to pass for the Arizona Cardinals.
He is the quarterback the Seahawks could have had, the one Pete Carroll and company inquired about within months of arriving in Seattle. But it was the Arizona Cardinals who made the leap of faith to acquire Kolb from Philadelphia, betting a second-round pick, a Pro Bowl corner and millions of dollars on their belief he will be a franchise quarterback.
Did Arizona marry its future to Kolb’s career?
“I hope so,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We feel good about Kevin. We know how important that position is on your football team.”
Someone in the NFC West will end up kicking themselves over this one because if Kolb is not the answer then Arizona not only overpaid him with a five-year, $63 million contract, but the Cardinals gave up a ransom to do so. If Kolb turns out to be the top-shelf quarterback Arizona is expecting, then Seattle passed up the chance to secure Matt Hasselbeck’s heir.
That is what makes Sunday’s matchup so interesting, because the Seahawks have an uncertainty at the position Kolb was acquired to fill in Arizona. Seattle is last in the league in points and yards, and yet the price for Kolb was so high the Seahawks opted to sign Tarvaris Jackson.
If committing to a franchise quarterback is like tying the knot, the Cardinals have taken the plunge while the Seahawks aren’t in an exclusive relationship yet. They acquired Charlie Whitehurst last year and added Jackson this year, but both were two-year deals as opposed to the kind of long-term commitment Arizona made in Kolb.
After Kurt Warner retired, Arizona tried to Band-Aid its way through 2010.
The Cardinals signed Derek Anderson and they also started rookies Max Hall and John Skelton.
All that added up to leave the Cardinals with the worst record in the worst division in the league.
The Cardinals were adamant about adding a starting quarterback this offseason. One possibility was the draft, in which the Cardinals held the No. 5 overall pick, but it turned out Arizona couldn’t pass up LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.
That left them looking at a total of four quarterbacks via trade or in free agency, Whisenhunt said.
“We were aggressive in our pursuit,” Whisenhunt said.
“We had Kevin rated the highest of all the guys.”
So Arizona traded cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick to Philadelphia to acquire Kolb, who already has three touchdown passes of more than 40 yards this season.
Arizona wasn’t alone in terms of intrigue. Kolb said there were about eight teams he was told were interested, but surmised the Eagles’ asking price drove some away.
The Seahawks were interested in Kolb two years ago back when he and Michael Vick were backing up Donovan McNabb. The Eagles were going to move someone out, and the Seahawks were among the teams interested.
So why didn’t the deal happen?
“It was compensation, the amount and all of the stuff,” Carroll said.