The Eagles plan to use the franchise tag on Michael Vick and listen to trade offers for backup Kevin Kolb, according to an ESPN report.
The team has long been expected to franchise Vick, and it has been reported for some time that the move was not only likely, but necessary to keep the Pro Bowl quarterback in Philadelphia. Because of the salary increase Vick saw in 2010 and the expiring collective bargaining agreement, the Eagles can't currently extend his contract, so they essentially have to use the tag to keep him, even if they eventually want to do a long-term deal.
The ESPN report cited a "league source" in reporting that Vick will be franchised. There was no source cited on the Kolb trade report, though with Vick widely expected to return, the logical move for the Eagles is to at least hear out offers for their backup. Asked about the accuracy of the report, the team had no comment.
It's been unclear to this point how the team planned to deal with Kolb: keep him as a backup for one more year, or deal him while they could still get something in return.
Kolb, with a relatively low quarterback salary of $1.4 million in 2011, could be very attractive to teams who need a new signal-caller, while the Eagles, who have invested four years in him, stand to lose Kolb for nothing after his contract expires. Kolb has previously said he wants to be a starter next season, which would mean finding a new team.
Vick's aggressive style, though, means he takes more hits than many quarterbacks, so the Eagles will also want a viable backup on hand, which could drive up the price to pry Kolb loose.
The report indicates that the Eagles are willing to trade Kolb if the right deal is offered. Unless a new CBA is worked out, though, player movement is likely to be frozen when the new league year begins March 4. If an NFL lockout begins that day, as expected, the Eagles wouldn't be able to deal Kolb until a new CBA is signed, which might mean waiting until after the draft, in which case the Eagles would most likely get back picks in 2012.
Player-for-player trades are fairly rare in the NFL, and won't be possible until a new CBA is agreed to.