|If Kolb continues to struggle, Arizona could move forward with few financial ramifications. (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
The Cardinals moved quickly to trade for Kevin Kolb during free agency, partly because it was abbreviated due to the lockout, but also because head coach Ken Whisenhunt probably couldn't bear the thought of Derek Anderson as Arizona's starting quarterback for another day.
But even as the organization was announcing that they had acquired Kolb from Philly for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick, and promptly gave him a $63 million contract extension that included $20 million in guarantees, we (along with plenty of other people) were wondering why the Cards would invest so much in an unproven quarterback.
Well, we're heading into Week 15 and and Kolb has struggled with injuries and inconsistencies this season. He's started just nine games, completed 57.7 percent of his throws with 9 TDs and 8 INTs. Put differently: he's an improvement over Anderson but not a $63 million-extension improvement. Which is why Arizona can move on from Kolb relatively cheaply. Details via NFL Network's Jason La Canfora:
Kolb will earn a $10 million signing bonus and $2 million salary in 2011. He is due a $7 million roster bonus this March which could conceivably be declined by the club, meaning they would could get out of Kolb's deal after paying him just $12 million over one year.Kolb will almost certainly get another year to prove he's a capable NFL starter, but if 2012 looks a lot like 2011, the Cardinals could again be in the market for their next franchise quarterback.
Kolb has a $1 million salary in 2012, bringing his total compensation for that year to $8 million, and $20 million over the first two years of the deal.
With a $9 million salary and $2 million roster bonus due to Kolb in 2013, the Cardinals again have another chance to move on with limited financial ramifications at the beginning of that league year.
If Kolb were released in 2013 -- when the salary cap projects to jump considerably -- he would count just $6 million in dead cap space. He would count $8 million against the salary cap if released in 2012, but the team would save $8 million in real dollars by not owing him his $7 million roster bonus and $1 million salary.
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