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Updated Mar 16, 2012 - 5:38 pm

So Kevin, about that Peyton Manning flirtation...

We've reached the second full week of Manning Watch 2012, and we know at this point that Peyton Manning will not be the next quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.

Friday, the organization beat their 1:00 p.m. deadline to honor a $7 million roster bonus due to incumbent quarterback Kevin Kolb, sewing up the immediate future at the position and effectively ending the Cardinals' pursuit of the future Hall of Famer.

So now, I can only help but wonder...what's going through the mind of Kevin Kolb right now?

Yes, the Cardinals gave up a lot to get him. Yes, they gave him big money and yes, they made him the starting quarterback on opening day last fall.

But, 231 days later, the potential for damage and a strained relationship is there.

The Cardinals were not sold on their current quarterbacks enough to avoid the lure of Manning hitting the free agent market.

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt released a statement Friday surrounding the pursuit of Manning.

"We've said it many times: if there's an opportunity to make our team better we'll explore it," Whisenhunt said in that statement. "We view the potential of adding a first- ballot Hall of Fame quarterback as one of those."

I understand Whisenhunt's words. Hell, I whole-heartedly agree with them. They should resound clearly with everyone with anyone who has an interest in what the Cardinals do; from the Bidwills to the most casual of fans. Of course, there's one exception to that; his name is Kevin Kolb.

Having your employer look for your potential replacement right in front of your face is difficult to experience. The fact that the target of their recruitment is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever lace up cleats would be of little consolation to me.

If decided to pursue Bill Simmons to take over my job, only have their efforts squelched by Simmons instead heading over to oversee the editorial efforts at Bleacher Report (shiver), I wouldn't be too jazzed about coming to work the next day (or ever).

Need another example? Let's put it this way. You've got a girlfriend. You've been going out for a year and during that time, there have been some rough patches, but nothing out of the ordinary for a new relationship of that length.

But then, out of the blue, a sexy, smart and successful woman you've known for years unexpectedly divorces her husband and makes it perfectly clear that she wants to dive headfirst into the dating pool right away.

You decide that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so you make your intentions known, even though you're still with your girlfriend. After wining and dining the newly- single hottie, she decides that she's getting back together with an old boyfriend in Nashville.

How do you go back to your girlfriend and make that work moving forward? The simple answer is, you don't. The prevailing feeling is you've settled and now you've reverted back to the comfort of the status quo after looking elsewhere for companionship.

That's the boat the Cardinals and Kolb are in. The big difference, of course, being that the Cardinals' courtship of Manning was front page news for over 10 days.

I know Kolb is handsomely paid, but there's only so much damage money can repair when a man's ego and pride are involved. If Kolb is wearing Cardinal red next season, he'll know that after a full-court press to get him in 2011, in 2012 he became a fallback plan.

And let's not forget the whole concussion issue. Kolb took a knee to the back of the head early in the Cardinals' win over San Francisco last December. The ensuing concussion left him in street clothes for the remainder of the season while his understudy, John Skelton, racked up wins.

Many people knocked the Cardinals' offensive line and placed it on the 'cons' list for Peyton Manning to relocate to the desert. Arizona quarterbacks were sacked 54 times last season in 608 dropbacks (that doesn't include plays where the QB dropped back but ran out of the pocket). Part of the reason why that number was that high was because Kolb had a tendency to hold the ball too long and was reticent to run when the pocket collapsed.

We've seen nothing that will lead to the belief that Kolb has improved in that area, making him a target for future sacks and concussions.

I like Kevin Kolb, and a year ago, I fully believed he was the quarterback of the future for the Arizona Cardinals.

But now, I have my doubts, just as his own employer apparently did. Doubts about health. Doubts about performance. And now, doubts about Kolb's psyche.

The Cardinals swung for the fences, and for that, I applaud them. But that swing didn't connect, so this feels like settling.

I hope I'm wrong in this instance, but settling doesn't usually work long-term for anyone involved.


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