You’ve heard the news by now that the Philadelphia Eagles have traded the face of their franchise to the division rival Washington Redskins. In a move that had been powering NFL rumor mills for the past two weeks, Philadelphia dealt Donavan McNabb to Washington in exchange for a second-round pick, and another draft choice that will fall in either the third or fourth round. To say that this changes the game isn’t fitting. This move has rocked the NFL to its very core.
Oh, and I don’t think Washington is done putting the NFL on its ear.
Eagles fans certainly won’t rejoice at the idea of having to deal with McNabb twice next season, especially considering that the only thing worse than losing with McNabb on their team will be losing because he’s playing for the other team. The Redskins began the NFL off-season with +1200 (12 to 1) odds of winning Super Bowl XLV, a line that is sure to move down now that Mike Shanahan has the quarterback he needs.
Redskins fans, meanwhile, will be screaming salvation to the football gods over the acquisition. Washington is not a team that has ever been patient enough to build through the draft, and it became no secret that the front office had quickly grown tired of Jason Campbell. With head coach Mike Shanahan gaining complete control of football operations in Washington, he needed a veteran quarterback that he could depend on. He sure as hell got it.
This is a somewhat similar event to what happened in the mid-90’s with Shanahan when returned to Denver as their head coach in 1995. John Elway, who was 34 at the time Shanahan came back to Mile High, had never been able to push Denver in to Lombardi territory. McNabb will be 34-years old this coming season and, as we all know, has yet to earn a ring of his own.
Here’s the kicker though – Washington can’t be finished here. The Redskins have been very busy so far in the off-season signing Willie Parker and Larry Johnson to add some depth to the oft-injured Clinton Portis. If this were 2005, the Redskins would be downright scary but the fact remains that we don’t know if Parker is a legit back anymore, and I think the NFL betting public has become accustomed to LJ being nothing more than a third-down garbage time clean-up guy.
This leaves McNabb surrounded by questionable talent, and nothing sheds more doubt in our nation’s capitol than the state of the wide receivers. Antwaan Randle El has already bolted back to Pittsburgh, and while Chris Cooley is a perfect tight-end, safety valve for McNabb, he’s also coming off a severely broken ankle. Anybody who plays fantasy football knows that Santana Moss is literally a streaker; fast as hell and known to vanish for games at a time.
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So the bigger question is – and you can see where this is going – what the Redskins now do to bolster the wide receiver position. Without the draft picks, a swap with Denver for Brandon Marshall is virtually out of the question. Shanahan has an obvious penchant for veterans and there’s no way that Snyder is willing to pay top-5 pick money to Dez Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft. The easiest, and perhaps cheapest, player to get would be (I can’t believe I’m writing this)…
It’s been six years since the two played together in Philadelphia, but with Owens, McNabb had the best season of a sordid career. In 15 games, McNabb threw for 3,875 yards, 31 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions finishing the regular season with a 104.7 quarterback rating. That has been the only season where the mistake-prone McNabb has qualified that high as a quarterback. It’s also the only season he’s been to the Super Bowl.
Obviously the two have had a massive falling out since everything hit the fan in 2005, but McNabb has gone on record saying that he regrets they way things ended with Owens. The two stars are entering the twilights of their careers, and both would be willing to let bygones be just that if it meant that each could be wearing a Super Bowl ring this time next year. If you think I’m an absolute nut case for even thinking this, then it’s probably a good time to remind you that Dan Snyder is a free-spending lunatic and a money burning psychopath that is crazy enough to try and make this happen.
Philadelphia seems intent on rolling the dice on their future with the 25-year old Kevin Kolb, who will be flanked by young playmakers like DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. The problem now is that they will be haunted by the McNabb in the NFC East, a division which has suddenly become the most heated in all of sports.
We waited to see what Washington would do to fix their quarterback situation and now they’ve sent shockwaves through the NFL. If my gut instincts are right, then they’re not done yet. Owens and McNabb last played in the city of brotherly love, and now they could very well be brothers in arms against the very team that has now banished both of them.
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