With the NFL threatening to lock out the players last week, the Philadelphia Eagles wasted no time in getting their designated franchise player Michael Vick signed, sealed and delivered for 2011 last Wednesday before the March 4 deadline would have halted all contract negotiations until the league drafted a new collective bargaining agreement.

Under the rules of the current collective bargaining agreement, which has been extended one week until Friday, a team must pay a franchise player the average of the top five salaries at his position.

The Philadelphia front office was anxious to lock up Vick for 2011 after he led the Eagles to a 10-6 record and the NFC East Division title after replacing injured quarterback Kevin Kolb in Week 1. Despite missing three weeks with an injury, Vick had his best season in 2010.

Vick set career highs in yards passing (3,018), touchdowns passing (21), touchdowns rushing (9), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2). He was also voted the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year after missing two seasons serving a federal prison sentence for dog fighting.

And now that the Eagles’ Pro Bowl quarterback has signed the one-year franchise tender that will be worth an estimated $20 million, the question arises as to what happens to Kolb, the Eagles’ former starting quarterback?

Kolb got his big chance to be the Eagles’ starting quarterback last season when the team surprised everyone by trading Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins on April 4. Kolb signed a one-year contract extension for $12.25 million, keeping him under contract with the Eagles through the 2011 season.

However, he got hurt in the first game of the 2010 season and Vick subbed for him and had a career year, leading to being designated the Eagles’ franchise player.

After starring as a three-year starting quarterback for Stephenville High School, Kolb initially committed to Oklahoma State to play college football in 2002 but rescinded his commitment when his former Stephenville head coach Art Briles took the University of Houston head job and accepted a scholarship to become a Cougar.

One day before the season opener in 2003 Kolb was named the starting quarterback for Houston as a true freshman, the first true freshman quarterback to start a season opener in U of H history.

Kolb finished his first season with 3,131 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions and was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year.

He started all 11 games as a sophomore and finished first in the conference in total offense with 256.1 yards per game, passing for 2,766 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In 2005 he led Houston to a 6-5 season and was named the Cougars MVP in the Fort Worth Bowl in a 42-13 loss to Kansas. Kolb finished the season with 3,258 passing yards and became the school’s all-time total offense leader.

His senior year in 2006 was Kolb’s signature college season in which he threw 30 touchdowns and only four interceptions en route to a 10-4 record and a Conference USA championship. He ended his college career with 12,964 total passing yards, fifth all-time.

Kolb was drafted in the second round (36th overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007 and signed a four-year, $4.285 million contract and was the third-string quarterback behind McNabb and A.J. Feeley. He didn’t see too much action behind McNabb, but did move up to second string in 2008.

At the end of last season Kolb publicly stated that he wants to be the Eagles’ starting quarterback or be traded. And now that Vick is the team’s franchise player, Kolb’s future is up in the air.

This week’s edition of The Sporting News lists five NFL teams that should strongly consider trading for Kolb. (1) Arizona Cardinals—“They have a star receiver in Larry Fitzgerald and play in the weak NFC West and could make a major leap with consistent quarterback play. If they don’t believe in a quarterback strongly enough to draft him at No. 5, they should try to swing a deal with the Eagles for Kolb.”

(2) Carolina Panthers—“New coach Ron Rivera has no reason to be loyal to Jimmy Clausen or Matt Moore. Neither played well last season. But why should the Panthers use their No. 1 pick on Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert, pay him a ton of money and play him before he is ready? Trading for Kolb is a better option.”

(3) Minnesota Vikings—“The Vikings have the worst quarterback situation in the NFC North. Joe Webb, 24, is their only quarterback under contract. If the Vikes stay at No. 12 overall in the draft, they likely won’t be able to land either Newton or Gabbert. The Vikings are built to win now with veteran starters Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen in their primes. Kolb could be their quarterback solution.”

(4) San Francisco 49ers—“They have proven offensive weapons in tight end Vernon Davis, wide receiver Michael Crabtree and running back Frank Gore. The right quarterback could make their offense hum. New coach Jim Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback, would be a nice mentor to continue Kolb’s development.”

(5)Tennessee Titans—“Vince Young will not be back and the Titans have an elite running back, Chris Johnson, who makes any quarterback’s job easier. Kolb would add another dimension to the offense.”
The article concludes, “Trading for Kevin Kolb might mean giving up at least a first-round draft pick, but with Kolb, as opposed to a draft pick, teams have at least some evidence of how he’ll perform as an NFL starter.

“In fact Kolb stacks up pretty favorably against two other guys who were in situations similar to his. Kansas City traded for Patriots backup Matt Cassel in 2009 and he led them to the playoffs in Year 2.

“The Houston Texans acquired Matt Schaub, who had been playing behind Michael Vick in Atlanta, and he made the Pro Bowl in his second season.”

In addition to his ability, Kolb turns 27 in August and has a manageable contract—he is scheduled to make $1.4 million in base salary next season.

Compare that to Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer, who wants to be traded but is 31 and has almost $50 million left on his contract, and it seems like trading for Kolb would be a given.
Of course the third scenario is that Philadelphia can afford to keep Kolb, as he provides quality insurance if Vick is injured.

KWICKIES…Congrats are in order to former Orangefield basketball coach Laurence Williams for guiding his Evadale Rebels to the Class A state basketball tournament in Austin. Evadale (21-15), the only boys’ team from Southeast Texas to make it to the big dance in Austin, will meet Eula (35-2) 10 a.m. Thursday at the Erwin Center on the University of Texas campus in Austin. The winner of this game will play the winner between Clarendon (24-6) and Tenaha (27-9) Saturday at 8:30 a.m. for the Class A state championship.

And speaking of basketball tournaments, the No. 2-seeded Lamar Lady Cardinals met No. 7 Northwestern State Tuesday at noon in the opening round of the Southland Conference tournament at the Merrell Center in Katy. Unfortunately, the Lamar men’s team failed to finish among the top eight teams in the SLC and ended their season Saturday with a 92-74 loss to our alma mater McNeese State.

The accolades continue to pour in for former West Orange-Stark star Brittney Scott as she finished the University of Houston’s regular season as the Lady Cougars’ leading scorer with 16.2 points per game average. She also was named this week as first team All Conference USA. The Lady Coogs were only the second team in C-USA history to go undefeated (16-0) in conference games. Houston gets a first-round bye in the C-USA tournament and will meet the winner between UTEP/SMU Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in El Paso.

The Houston Astros aren’t exactly tearing the cover off the baseball so far in the Grapefruit League with a 2-7 record through Sunday’s action. They also received the bad news that young catcher Jason Castro will be lost for the season due to an injury to his right knee. He underwent surgery last week to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament and repair a torn meniscus cartilage. Don’t be surprised if the team picks up an aging veteran receiver who can hit because Humberto Quintero and J. R. Towles are very inconsistent with the stick.

JUST BETWEEN US…It’s not really surprising to this Korner that the NFL, in all of its infinite wisdom, opted to extend last week’s deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement until Friday. The extension indicates that neither side wanted to shut down a league that earns $9 billion a year and is growing in popularity with pro football fans every year. The last two Super Bowls rank No. 1 and No. 2 among most-watched TV programs in U.S. history.