Quarterback Kevin Kolb won't be on the field for Sunday's season finale against the Seahawks, but he will be wearing a Cardinals uniform next season. You can bank on it.
Despite a groundswell of support for backup John Skelton and a reactionary faction that wants the Cards to release Kolb after a disappointing first season, it's not going to happen for three simple reasons:
• The Cardinals invested too much in Kolb this offseason to give up so quickly. They dealt 2009 Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft pick to the Eagles, and they signed Kolb to a five-year contract worth as much as $63 million.
• Kolb has only played in eight games and one series of a ninth. Without an offseason to learn the system, that is not enough time to judge whether he can become the franchise quarterback the team envisioned when it acquired him this offseason.
• If they release Kolb, the Cards will have to find another quarterback, meaning they'll have to start this process all over again. Skelton has made great strides this season and will push Kolb in training camp next summer, but his time isn't now. The Cards want a better read on Kolb.
"We have a better sense than we did when we signed him," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "Seeing what he did in the Dallas game obviously is exciting. Seeing what he did in the Carolina game was exciting. You look forward to having more time with him and continuing to grow as an offense."
Kolb was limited in Wednesday's practice, but his practice status is academic at this point. He had a full evaluation on Tuesday that revealed lingering symptoms consistent with a concussion. That's enough reason to shut it down for the year.
"It showed that I'm a little slow with reaction stuff and some processing stuff from my baseline (test) that I had earlier in the year," Kolb said. "They decided to test because the symptoms had lingered a little bit - just to cover all bases."
Kolb said this experience has been entirely different from a concussion he suffered last season with the Eagles.
"The lingering symptoms are the biggest kicker," he said of an injury suffered Dec. 11 against the 49ers. "That's something I didn't deal with last time."
Kolb's doctor told him that with two to three more weeks' rest he'll be fine. Whisenhunt added that he's unaware of any studies that show suffering one concussion makes a person more susceptible to others, so there is no concern going forward.
As for the popular notion that Kolb is injury-prone, Whisenhunt just shrugged.
"That happens in this game, especially at that position," he said. "The chances of guys getting through a whole season without an injury doesn't happen much."
Kolb, who also missed four games due to turf toe and foot injuries, is hoping for better luck next season because it will be a defining year for him. He'll have the benefit of an offseason and another full preseason to prepare. Short of more injuries, there won't be any excuses for failure to master the offense.
Kolb received a $10 million signing bonus in addition to his $2 million in salary in 2011. He's due a $7 million roster bonus and $9 million salary in 2012, and $10 million in the final three years of the deal.
"I feel very comfortable in this offense now," he said. "You know you feel comfortable as a quarterback whenever you say a play or a formation and it just pops in your head immediately. That's what began to happen later on in the season."