BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The Eagles and Cards have made significant progress toward reaching an agreement that would send Kevin Kolb to the Cards and Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and additional compensation in the form of a draft pick to the Eagles, according to a league source familiar with negotiations.
The source said that as of Wednesday evening, the deal was not done.
The Cards are still dropping hints that theyre just as interested in Kyle Orton of the Broncos as Kolb, but the source said the Cards have indeed targeted Kolb as their No. 1 option at quarterback.
The Dolphins appear interested in acquiring Orton, who the Broncos are shopping around, and if they get the former Bronco and Bear, the Kolb deal could follow quickly. Orton is 32-29 in five NFL seasons but won just three of 13 starts last year with the Broncos, although he had a very good 20-to-9 TD-to-INT ratio.
How close is an Arizona-Philly deal? Close enough that the Eagles have told Kolb not to travel from his home in Texas to Philadelphia to join the team at training camp in time for Thursdays first two practices, a team source said.
Bringing Kolb to Lehigh and allowing him to practice with the Eagles would both put him at injury risk while the Eagles were trying to trade him and would also likely create a circus atmosphere around training camp that head coach Andy Reid doesnt need.
Players under contract are required to report by Thursday morning, but a team always has the option of giving a player an excused absence if he doesnt show.
The trade window opened at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, and although there was much speculation that a deal would occur almost instantly, that didnt happen, and negotiations between the Eagles and Cards have moved along slowly the last couple days while other quarterbacks notably Matt Hasselbeck and Tarvaris Jackson -- have changed teams.
The Cards released Derek Anderson earlier this week after Anderson went 2-7 in nine starts at quarterback with the Cards last year. The only quarterbacks currently on their roster are John Skelton, Rich Bartel and Max Hall. They have a total of three career wins.
The only other viable starting quarterback still available is probably free agent Marc Bulger, who has a 5-30 record since 2007.
Meanwhile, a Montgomery County radio station reported that theres a mystery team (or teams) that is still in the mix for Kolb and has formally asked the Eagles for permission to talk to Kolb, a prerequesite of acquiring him in a trade, since any team Kolb goes to would have to sign him to a long-term extension before the deal can be finalized.
Adam Caplan of WPEN-FM quoted sources as saying the Cards are not the only team that has formally requested permission to talk to Kolb.
With Tarvaris Jackson a done deal in Minneapolis and Matt Hasselbeck in Tennessee, the Dolphins and 49ers are two teams that still could use a front-line quarterback, although the Niners did re-sign Alex Smith.
Kolb is 3-4 in seven career starts in place of injured Donovan McNabb in 2009 and Michael Vick last year, but was twice the NFC Offensive Player of the Week and has thrown for 325 or more yards in three of his seven starts. His 61 percent career completion percentage is second-best in franchise history (behind only Vick).
Kolb, groomed under McNabb as the Eagles quarterback of the future, lost his starting job after he got hurt on opening day, and Vick emerged as an elite quarterback in his place.
Asked at his media briefing Wednesday who his starting right cornerback is, Eagles head coach Andy Reid declined to answer.
Quite possibly it will be Rodgers-Cromartie, who has 13 interceptions four returned for touchdowns in three years with the Cards.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.