Trading a quarterback is not a bad idea — the team seems to have concluded that Kevin Kolb is the eventual replacement for McNabb, so if the Green Birds can get something for Michael Vick, do it. He did little last year other than stir up controversy and serve as a distraction as the cameras often panned the sideline in search of Vick, instead of McNabb … who was in the game.
Andy Reid is one of the NFL's best coaches and has a solid eye for talent, and has been attached to McNabb ever since drafting the Syracuse quarterback instead of the overwhelming choice of the fans, who hoped Philadelphia would draft Ricky Williams. Reid has watched McNabb lead his team to five NFC Championships and a Super Bowl while throwing for 32,873 yards over 11 seasons, rushing for 3,249 yards and another 28 touchdowns, and with a touchdowns-to-interceptions ration of better than 2-1 (216-100). It's not like he has tailed off, either: in 2009, he threw for 3,553 yards while tossing 22 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions.
In addition to his production, the 6-2, 240-pound McNabb has been durable, playing in fewer than 10 games just once in his career (he played in nine games in 2005), and has been to the Pro Bowl five times.
Now McNabb is all over the news, and depending on which report is deemed believable, he is either a candidate to be traded, or already should be packing his bags. Never mind that two of the teams linked to the McNabb rumors — St. Louis and San Francisco — have said they don't want him despite the fact that their quarterbacks are significantly inferior talents.
McNabb has said the right thing (whether it's true or not), that he would like to remain in Philadelphia and finish his career as an Eagle. There also are reports that he has told Reid that if he is going to be traded, McNabb would like the team to act quickly, and that if he is going to be traded, he would prefer to become a Minnesota Viking.
The likelihood that Minnesota trades for him is pretty slim, because the Vikings are married, at least for the time being, to Brett Favre. The idea that they'll grant his wish and make a trade for him soon is next to impossible, since Favre hasn't announced whether he'll be back for the 2010 season.
The fourth team linked to the McNabb trade rumors, the Oakland Raiders, is perhaps the most illogical destination of them all. The rumor mill, depending on which version is to be believed, has McNabb and cornerback Asante Samuel going to the Raiders in exchange for Nnamdi Asomugha.
The Raiders finished last season with a record of 5-11, and now they want to trade the one elite player they have for an veteran QB and a veteran cornerback? Samuel is good, but he's not Asomugha, and McNabb is very good … but he won't be when (if?) the Raiders figure out how to build a team around him. McNabb is the kind of player a team should go get when it is a top quarterback away from Super Bowl contention; McNabb will be hard-pressed just to put Oakland into playoff contention.
But it shouldn't come down to whether or not the Raiders want to pay what the Eagles demand for McNabb, because he shouldn't be on the market at all.
Yes, he's a little bit long in the tooth — McNabb will turn 34 in November — but he still is one of the league's better players at his position, a borderline Pro Bowl-level talent. Kolb might well be the future, and he has shown flashes of real talent, but at the moment, Kolb is a player who might prove to be a Pro Bowl-caliber talent, whereas McNabb is such a player, and has been for years.
Reid always has been good about replacing players when it is time to bring in some fresh blood, and the face of the offense has changed with the offseason dismissal of running back Brian Westbrook.
But the face of the franchise has been McNabb for about a decade, and he is not broken down physically, and has not lost his ability to throw the ball or run an offense. Has he lost a step when running? Sure — probably. But he's much smarter and gets rid of the ball more quickly than he did when he was younger, too.
The Eagles have a lot of veterans on their roster, and owe it to those players to make another run with a quarterback who has proven he can produce at the NFL level, rather than one who for all his talent, remains an unproven commodity.
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