Cardinals QB Competition: Mind Over Money

John Skelton (Getty)

Conventional thinking would lead one to believe that Kevin Kolb would be the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals this season but his $63 million price tag might not be enough to earn him the job over John Skelton.

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Conventional thinking would lead one to believe that Kevin Kolb would be the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals this season. After all, Arizona gave up significant resources to acquire Kolb a year ago and extended a lucrative contract extension before he even stepped on the field.

But apparently the Cardinals brass isn't thinking so conventional these days, and for good reason.

In place of Kolb, third-year signal caller John Skelton is being reported as the favorite to win the starting job. Yes, Skelton – the once considered raw, developmental prospect that the team drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. Yes, Skelton over Kolb – and the $63 million the team invested in him prior to last season which also included $21 million guaranteed and a $7 million roster bonus last March.

Kolb's grip on the starting job has been shaky at best throughout his short time in Arizona. Although he was tabbed as the savior of the sputtering franchise when the team traded Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in last year's draft to get him, Kolb has yielded minimal results compared to the hefty investment to secure his services.

Meanwhile, Skelton has been the underdog that just won't go away. He was thrust into action during his rookie season, even though he was nowhere close to being ready. Skelton, however, immediately showed the intangibles to make it at the games highest level – rising to the occasion and putting forth a string of respectable efforts.

Thing haven't changed for Skelton and he continues to hang around and is now considered the favorite to be the Cardinals' opening day starter.

A deeper look all but confirms that Skelton has been far superior to Kolb, at least up to this point. As the starter, Skelton led the Cardinals to a 6-2 record in 2011 and he was one of the few bright spots in an abysmal 2010 campaign in which the likes of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and Richard Bartel all took turns under center.

Kolb, on the other hand, managed a record of just 2-6 as the team's starter last year. Further complicating matters for Kolb is his not so hot QB rating of 0.0 so far this preseason.

Kevin Kolb

While many could have predicted this outcome due to the inauspicious career of Kolb – even dating back to his time with the Philadelphia Eagles – the bigger question remains: what will the future hold for Kolb?

Kolb has already been exiled in Philadelphia following the re-emergence of Michael Vick and now with Skelton on the verge of taking the starting job in Arizona at only 24 years of age, Kolb could soon find himself exiled from the desert.

Quarterbacks with starting potential usually get more than one chance to prove themselves in the NFL, but Kolb will have already used two of those opportunities. Each season a handful of teams will be seeking a new quarterback and players such a Kolb will continue to get a look – even with a checkered past – but eventually those looks will dry up.

If Kolb does indeed lose the starting spot again this year, and if Skelton continues to chalk up wins, Kolb will undoubtedly be ousted from a second straight opportunity where the job was his to lose. And his $63 million price tag won't be able to save him from that grave outcome.

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