Kevin Kolb is sidelined yet again for multiple weeks after sustaining a major rib injury in which he separated his cartilage against the Buffalo Bills. That leaves the young John Skelton behind center, playing through some big games midway through the season just as he did in 2011.
The Cardinals can ill-afford to keep having the quarterback they have committed to paying over $60 million to on the bench all the time. He has shown that he is a better option than Skelton both as a quarterback and a leader, so having him on the field as much as possible is imperative for the team's success.
That is why if he wants to come back next season, it will be under new terms. The Cardinals cannot continue to pay him millions upon millions of dollars for only a few healthy games per season. He has had concussion issues, turf toe problems and the latest injury to his ribs as well.
The Cardinals should, and probably will, ask Kolb to take a pay cut by restructuring his contract. And it would be wise for him to do so for many reasons. He needs to prove to the fan base of the Cardinals and the entire NFL that he can be a viable starting quarterback in this league. If he decides not to restructure and gets cut instead, which team is going to let him start? There are only a few that would give him that opportunity and it likely wouldn't be for more pay than the amount he would be asked to restructure to.
No matter what, if he comes back, I expect there to be a competition between him and John Skelton once again. The team may even go the route of drafting a young quarterback high in the draft, in which case they would likely cut Kolb, but that is never a sure thing.
I am not the only one that believes this, either. Check out this tweet from the Arizona Republic's Kent Somers:
@mr_farenheit_ my gut? he'll stay, work out a new deal, give him a chance to earn $$ thru incentives— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) October 24, 2012
We are on the same page. Kolb hasn't stayed healthy, has performed well sparingly and needs to prove much more in order to justify his current wage. If not, the Cardinals should say sayonara to Kolb and usher in a new era, hoping to find the Cardinals quarterback they have been searching so desperately for since Kurt Warner's retirement.
Somers makes a good point about the incentives clause as well. The Cardinals should add in the possibility for Kolb to recuperate any of the money that he would have lost by adding in incentives. Whether that is by staying healthy for a certain amount of games or throwing for over a specific amount of yards, Kolb should have that opportunity.
So do the right thing, Kevin. Restructure or retreat. It's your choice, but it seems like a pretty obvious one to me.