Vick Gets Tagged, Could Kolb Be Available for the 49ers?

The Philadelphia Eagles have slapped Michael Vick with the franchise tag but does that mean that backup quarterback Kevin Kolb won't be available to teams like the 49ers?

Not many were surprised that the Eagles decided to use the franchise tag on Vick, who is coming off the best season of his career after replacing an injured Kolb in Week 1.

Franchising Vick ensures that the Eagles will have to pay the once troubled quarterback at least a one year salary equal to the five highest paid quarterbacks in the league, if the current collective bargaining agreement is extended. If not, the tag could mean little.

Still some have questioned whether the Eagles would keep Kolb if the team retained Vick. At 26 and after four years on the bench, Kolb wants to start.

And many believe the young quarterback, who was handpicked by Eagles coach Andy Reid, can be an above average starter in the NFL, especially in a West Coast offense.

Some NFL pundits have linked Kolb to the 49ers in a possible trade but no deal could be struck between the 49ers and the Eagles until after a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between team owners and the players' union.

The league looks certain to be headed towards a work stoppage next month, which would most likely put free agency and trades on hold.

So would Kolb then be available once free agency and trade talks are allowed again?

Probably not.

Most expect the league will lock its players out until after the NFL Draft in April. But the draft, since it involves non-union players, will take place normally as scheduled.

In the NFL, decent players are usually traded for draft picks and ESPN's Matt Mosley points out that the Eagles may not be interested in trading Kolb, who is signed through next season at a relatively affordable $1.4 million.

With Vick's ability to get through an entire season in question, it would be no surprise if the Eagles held onto Kolb as an insurance policy against Vick getting injured.

Kolb filled in for Vick for three games last season and performed well, including a victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

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