The worst trade in Arizona Cardinals’ history
The Arizona Cardinals were still feeling the effects of a legend’s retirement when they made a desperate trade for Kevin Kolb
The Arizona Cardinals were in desperation mode. The club had just suffered through the retired Kurt Warner’s replacements, finishing a dreadful 5-11 in 2010. Derek Anderson, John Skelton and Max Hall combined for some awful quarterback play, prompting management to search for a quick solution for the position.
The Philadelphia Eagles were dangling 26-year old signal-caller Kevin Kolb. Rod Graves, the Cards’ general manager at the time, took the bait. A trade was consummated on July 28, 2011, when Arizona sent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft pick to Philly for Kolb.
Besides some exorbitant compensation, the Cardinals handed their new addition a ridiculous five-year, $64 million contract ($21 million guaranteed). Kolb had done little to deserve that kind of coin, and the acquisition would turn out to be one of the worst blunders in organization history.
Kolb did begin his Arizona stint on a high note. He went 18 for 27 for 309 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-21 opening-day victory over the Carolina Panthers. Perhaps the Cards’ new quarterback would be turning the doubters into believers after all.
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Things slowly went downhill from there. Due to various injuries (toe, concussion), Kolb would proceed to miss seven contests during the ’11 season, opening the door for Skelton, his backup. He would finish with 1,955 yards, throwing nine touchdowns and eight interceptions, completing just 57.7% of his passes in his initial season in the desert.
During the 2012 preseason, head coach Ken Whisenhunt showed what a mistake the Kolb acquisition actually was. Skelton was awarded the starting job after a training camp competition between the two. Kolb’s struggles were publicized when Oakland Raiders’ defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (a Cardinal in 2014) referred to him as “scared” and “skittish” after a preseason game.
After Skelton suffered an ankle injury during the 2012 opener, Kolb was again the starter. He led Arizona to a 4-0 start before the wheels fell off again. He would play in just two more games before suffering a chest/rib injury, and the Cards would finish a disappointing 5-11.
The Cardinals released Kolb in March of 2013 right before he was due a $2 million roster bonus. The new hierarchy, led by general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians, wanted no part of the previous regime’s error. It was far from a difficult decision.