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Pick a Passer

Valuable veteran quarterbacks are there for the taking—whenever the labor situation allows

Amid the uncertain labor situation, speculation has swirled about where a group of veteran quarterbacks will settle once trades can be made and free agents signed. The high-profile list includes Donovan McNabb, who had a miserable 2010 season in Washington; Carson Palmer, who says he won't return to Cincinnati; Vince Young, who's no longer wanted in Tennessee; and Matt Hasselbeck, a long shot to return to Seattle as a free agent. The most desirable of the bunch, though, is Kevin Kolb, the 2007 Eagles second-rounder. Although Kolb, 26, has only seven career starts, he's had moments of brilliance under the grooming of Andy Reid and, having mostly backed up McNabb and Michael Vick, doesn't have much physical wear and tear. Where he ends up will influence the fates of the other quarterbacks. Based on talks with league sources, here's how things might shake out.

• Look for Kolb to land with the Cardinals. The Seahawks also have interest—they pursued him last off-season—but G.M. John Schneider believes strongly in building through the draft, and Seattle is unlikely to give up high picks and a big contract for Kolb, who's said to be seeking in the neighborhood of $30 million guaranteed. Arizona is desperate because it has no proven QB, and star wideout Larry Fitzgerald, who is in the final year of a contract, likely won't sign an extension without an established signal-caller.

• After eight seasons in Cincy, Palmer reportedly plans to retire if he's not traded. If so, he might as well head to the golf course, because Bengals owner Mike Brown isn't one to be bullied by players. Multiple teams have inquired about Palmer, some a handful of times, but each says it was left with the impression that Cincinnati isn't going to budge.

• Hasselbeck turned down a prelockout contract offer (terms weren't disclosed) that the Seahawks felt was extremely fair. They're not expected to put it back on the table or improve on it, which means he may have to move on. A potential landing spot is Tennessee, where he'd be reunited with G.M. Mike Reinfeldt and serve as a bridge and mentor to Jake Locker, the Titans' first-round pick this year.

• McNabb might be the QB most hurt by the lockout, since some teams that would have gone after him instead addressed their QB needs in the draft. He'd been strongly linked to the Vikings, but Minnesota took Florida State's Christian Ponder at No. 12 and appears ready to hand him the ball. Several G.M.s believe McNabb will have to agree to a backup role before a team signs him. That still leaves the door open in Minnesota; Miami is also a possibility.

• As for Young, he isn't getting much love around the league. Said one executive, "He scares the crap out of me. He's a big man, a good athlete, and he's a winner. But he just does some funky [stuff] that scares you, on the field and off." Candidates include his hometown, Houston, or Oakland—where funky stuff has never been much of an issue.

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LOOK FORWARD Kolb (left) could help the Cards keep Fitzgerald; McNabb may have to be happy in a backup role.



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