The McNabb Trade: What I Think

A few thoughts on cold and calculating Andy Reid, the maligned Philly fan base, and what the Eagles' ex-GM told me about Kevin Kolb

Donovan McNabb finally has been traded, to the Washington Redskins for a second round pick in this year’s draft and a possible third rounder for next season, and here are some of the things I believe and don’t believe:

* I believe that trading McNabb was the best thing for the Eagles organization — if only for the reason that they needed some kind of new energy to flow through there. McNabb has been a good quarterback for 11 years, but we have seen the best of what he has to offer. The fan base focused more on his faults than his strengths in the past couple of years, so imagine a year — which would have been the last year of his contract — where every McNabb mistake was scrutinized and grumbled about and booed, with everybody in the stands and watching on television ruing the day that the Eagles didn’t turn the page and start the Kevin Kolb era. Remember the day you bought a new car? You couldn’t wait to get into in the morning, hear that “thunk” of the new, crisp door and smelled the new car smell, and drive it around. Eagles fan now have the new energy and smell of a new car. [SIGNUP]

* I don’t believe that Kevin Kolb is the second coming of Joe Montana. But evidently the Eagles coaching staff does. I’m a cynic. I need to see more than two fairly successful starts and a disastrous one before I believe that the kid is an NFL starter. But the coaches see Kolb in practice every day and every snap. They see that he has a quick release and that he throws a catchable ball that leads a receiver into the all important yards after catch category — vital cogs in a West Coast offense. In conversations with former Eagles general manager Tom Heckert, I was shocked by how much Heckert raved about Kolb.

* I don’t believe that it was important for the Eagles to provide Donovan McNabb with a comfortable place to land, and that that was why they sent him to the Washington Redskins instead of a team like the Oakland Raiders. I believe the Eagles front office, including Andy Reid, are cold and calculated NFL business people and that they took the best offer on the board at that particular time. Speculation that McNabb wouldn’t have reported to certain teams, or might have even retired if he didn’t get traded to the “right” place, is total bullshit. No player making $11 million a year is fool enough to just retire. No player making $11 million is fool enough not to report, because you don’t get the money if you do that. Could teams have shied away from giving the Eagles a second round pick if McNabb, on the last year of a contract, wasn’t willing to sign a contract extension with them? Perhaps. But the Oakland Raiders traded for Richard Seymour last year on the last year of a contract and didn’t think a thing about that. You mean to tell me if Oakland called the Eagles and offered a better package than the Redskins, the Eagles would have turned that down because it wasn’t a “safe landing” for McNabb? I don’t think so. The Eagles got lucky that the Redskins’ owner is a bit of a star fucker and loves to have “names” on his roster.

* I believe that the Philadelphia fan base has taken a very unfair hit during this whole McNabb saga. Every dopey national pundit out there blamed the fans for that old, tired adage that we “run great players out of town.” In fact, it was Eagles management, including the head coach who allegedly was joined at the hip with this quarterback, who made the judgment that he was no longer worthy to be the starting quarterback for this team. And they made that decision in the off-season before last season when instead of giving Donovan McNabb an extension on his contract, they gave him a little more money, hush money as it were, in his old contract. Andy Reid explained this trade-market dangling of McNabb as part of a trio of quarterbacks who were all on the last year of a contract, and that they wanted to listen to offers for all of them. The only reason McNabb was on the last year of a contract, though, was because they Eagles didn’t want to extend him. If you are really committed to a veteran quarterback, who by all accounts, is still amongst the top 10 QB’s in the league, you don’t let him get to the last year of a contract.

And last but not least…
* I don’t believe that trading Donovan McNabb to a team in the Eagles division is that big of a deal. This notion that McNabb will come back to haunt the Eagles is just plain silly. Who would know more about McNabb’s weaknesses and have the ability to forge a defensive game plan to stop him than his former coaches and players? McNabb’s potential to “haunt” the Eagles is solely in the hands of Kevin Kolb. If the kid plays well and the Eagles win, we won’t be worrying about McNabb’s haunting. Bye-bye, Donnie Mac. Hope that Capital Belt looks good with the air guitar.

Listen to MIKE MISSANELLI weekday afternoons on 97.5 The Fanatic.