When can Kevin Kolb be traded?
That seemed to be the No. 1 question on the minds of Eagles fans and around the NFL on Thursday after U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson denied the owners' request for a stay Wednesday night.
The lockout has been lifted, and the owners are incrementally scheduling the order of league business. But it appears as if the first day the Eagles could potentiallytrade their backup quarterback won't come until Monday.
If that's the case, it doesn't do the Eagles or Kolb any good. It is no secret the Eagles had hoped to dangle the 26-year-old to teams desperate for a quarterback before or during the draft. They had at least one first-round offer in March and appeared willing to pull the trigger in order to get immediate help for the coming season.
"We know the people who were interested in Kevin before we couldn't talk," Reid said Thursday night. "We know where we left off there. We'll see where we are when things are lifted. Everyone else has to deal with the same thing, and we'll work it."
The owners appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit Court and are expected to receive a ruling by Friday. Even if their request for a stay is denied, the start of free agency and player trades will be put on hold until Monday so the NFL can set guidelines.
The league has already told its teams that, as of 8 a.m. Friday, they are free to contact their players, open their team facilities for use, and basicallybegin preparations for the coming season as they normally would.
"We had a staff meeting today to get the coaches set up for what's going to happen," Reid said. "I don't usually like 8 o'clock starts to the draft. But today I was OK with it because it gave me a chance to make sure everything was in place."
The next step will be to start voluntary workouts, which the Eagles have tentatively set for Monday, and possibly hold minicamp by next weekend.
Even if Kolb can't be traded during the draft he may not make it to workouts. If the Eagles can trade him they could do so for 2012 draft picks or another player, although that is a less-attractive scenario.
There was speculation that the Eagles could engage in some shifty maneuvering during the draft in anticipation of moving Kolb next week. But the uncertainty as of Thursday night made such moves risky.
Of course, there is always the chance the Eagles choose to keep Kolb -- as Reid noted -- even though he has voiced his preference to start elsewhere rather than be Michael Vick's backup.
Back to business?
Winston Justice became the first player to return to the NovaCare Complex since the start of the lockout when he showed up at Eagles headquarters on Thursday.
Justice, the Eagles' union representative, met with coach Andy Reid and team president Joe Banner for an extended period to discuss the gradual easing of the lockout since it was lifted by the courts on Monday.
While players were technically permitted to enter as of Monday night, they will have full access to the facility on Friday and will be able to meet with coaches. The Eagles also must provide rehabilitation and medical services to injured players, such as defensive end Brandon Graham, safety Nate Allen, and Justice.
Quintin Mikell also showed up at the NovaCare on Thursday, although the safety is technically no longer an Eagle. His contract is up, and if the new league year begins on Monday he will be an unrestricted free agent. Mikell, who cleaned out his locker, recently said he received no indication whether the Eagles planned on bringing him back for next season.