He’s led the Eagles to the playoffs nine times, which has included five trips to the conference championship game and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX. He’s never had consecutive seasons without reaching the playoffs and he’s arguably the most respected head coach in the league by his players other than Bill Belichick.
Yet Reid’s most impressive accomplishment as a coach may be his ability to develop, and then trade, quarterbacks.
It began with AJ Feeley. Feeley had originally been drafted by the Eagles in the fifth round in 2001, where he played well enough down the stretch for an injured Donovan McNabb in 2002 that many speculated he would be a solid starting quarterback one day. The Miami Dolphins agreed and sent a second round draft pick to the Eagles in exchange for Feeley, who predictably struggled in 2004 before he was benched. Consider that a huge victory for Reid and the Eagles.
Round two involved veteran quarterback Kelly Holcomb. Not many remember this, but Holcomb was traded to the Eagles before the 2007 season along with linebacker Takeo Spikes. In exchange, the Eagles sent defensive tackle Darwin Walker and a conditional draft pick in 2008 to the Buffalo Bills. Holcomb played well enough during the 2007 preseason that the Eagles were able to send him to the Minnesota Vikings, who had former Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress as their head coach, for a sixth round pick in the 2009 draft. Holcomb played in just three games for the Vikings and was released after the season. Consider that a small victory for Reid and the Eagles.
The third time, and arguably the riskiest for Reid, came after the 2009 season when the Eagles traded McNabb to the Washington Redskins for a second round draft pick. Imagine that. The Eagles traded McNabb, who was only 33, to a division rival and never came remotely close to regretting it. McNabb’s tenure with the Redskins was as awkward as you can imagine. He was benched in week eight, given a five-year, $78 million contract extension in week 11 and delegated to third-string by week 16. He was traded after the season to the Minnesota Vikings.
The final time is the most impressive. Following the 2010 season, Eagles backup quarterback Kevin Kolb was considered the most highly coveted quarterback in the league. Reid ended up trading Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for a second round draft pick. Oh, and he also acquired former Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, filling the biggest void on the team.
That’s three second round draft picks, a sixth round draft pick and a Pro Bowl cornerback that the Eagles acquired for four quarterbacks who really didn’t do anything productive with their new team.
In fact, look at Feeley going to the Dolphins. He set their franchise back a couple of years. McNabb did the same thing with the Redskins and Kolb is doing the same with the Cardinals.
It’s almost comical.
However, I think Reid’s days of swindling the league for quarterbacks is finished. He tried and was unsuccessful in his attempt to trade Mike Kafka, and I think a big reason why is the failure of Kolb.
If Kolb had turned into a successful quarterback, it would have really helped Reid’s chances of developing and trading away another quarterback for a high draft pick.
But don’t expect the Eagles to be able to swindle another team into sending a high draft pick for an unproven quarterback.
Those days, unfortunately, are over.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.