Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb put together a negative touchdown-to-interception ratio (14-to-15) this past season for the very first time. (Joe Robbins/Getty)
When the Eagles traded quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Redskins a little over a year ago, they received a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and a conditional pick in 2011 – it turned out to be a fourth rounder – as compensation.
The 6-2, 240-pounder was coming off a 2009 season in Philadelphia completing 60.3 percent of his passes with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 22-to-10 and a passer rating of 92.9, plus he was 10-4 as a starter. McNabb left the City of Brotherly Love as the franchise's all-time leader in completions (2,801), attempts (4,746), yards (32,873) and touchdown passes (216), yet he still managed to throw fewer interceptions (100) than Ron Jaworski (151), Norm Snead (124) and Randall Cunningham (105).
But nothing went right for the former No. 2-overall selection in Washington, as his 14 TD passes were the lowest of his career, aside from his rookie campaign in 1999 when he only started six games, and his 15 INTs were a career high. McNabb won just five of 13 starts and got benched the final three games in favor of Rex Grossman, who had been carrying a clipboard for the majority of 2008 and 2009 behind Kyle Orton in Chicago and Matt Schaub in Houston, respectively. In the end, the Eagles went 10-6 and won the NFC East, while the Redskins stumbled to 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the third year in a row.
It's no secret that McNabb really clashed with coach Mike Shanahan, more specifically offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, which first came to light when he was pulled late in Week 8 at Detroit and replaced by Grossman because he supposedly didn't have the "cardiovascular endurance" to run the two-minute drill. Grossman proceeded to get sacked on his first snap, and the ensuing fumble was returned 17 yards for a touchdown -- game over.
The Redskins have to get rid of McNabb so both parties can go their separate ways, but what can they expect in return and, more importantly if a deal is ever to be done, who is going to want him after what everyone witnessed in our nation's capital?
The draft is in the rearview mirror, which means at least six signal caller-needy teams can be scratched off the list of potential suitors. The Panthers now have Cam Newton. The Titans now have Jake Locker. The Jaguars now have Blaine Gabbert. The Vikings how have Christian Ponder. The Bengals now have Andy Dalton. The 49ers now have Colin Kaepernick. Newton, Locker, Ponder and Dalton -- depending on how Carson Palmer plays the ultimatum game with Cincinnati -- could all conceivably start Day 1. Gabbert probably waits for a year in Jacksonville behind David Garrard. Same situation for Kaepernick, as word out of San Francisco suggests Alex Smith will get one last chance.
In the AFC, the Bills showed some degree of support for incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick by not drafting a QB. The Raiders were a rumored destination for McNabb before he went to Washington -- Oakland made a play for Jason Campbell instead. The Browns remain committed to Colt McCoy and, like Buffalo, ignored the game's most important position in the draft.
In his more familiar NFC, a case can be made for McNabb being a good fit with Seattle. That team has run a version of the West Coast Offense for quite some time, just as McNabb did during the entirety of his tenure playing for Eagles coach Andy Reid. However, if the Seahawks are going to sign an aging Pro Bowl passer and try to get one more season out of him, then they may as well bring back Matt Hasselbeck -- he's only a year older than McNabb and already knows the Emerald City inside and out.
That leaves but two clubs conceivably in the market for McNabb and having him under center come Week 1, whenever that is: Miami and Arizona.
The Dolphins are in a state of flux on the offensive side of the ball. Chad Henne threw more interceptions (19) than touchdowns (15) and fell out of favor. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, formerly one of the premier running back tandems in the league, are both free agents and neither is expected to return. Brandon Marshall caught 86 passes but only averaged 11.8 yards per catch and scored just three times. Anthony Fasano still hasn't delivered on that breakout season so many expect from him at the tight end position. And even if Jake Long is a brick wall at left tackle, the rest of the line was a disappointment in 2010.
While Miami went offense, offense, offense and offense again with its first four picks in the draft, those picks resulted in a guard (Mike Pouncey), a tailback (Daniel Thomas), a receiver (Edmond Gates) and an H-back (Charles Clay) -- no quarterback.
As for the Cardinals, Derek Anderson proved once again that his Pro Bowl berth in 2007 with Cleveland was a complete fluke. Two rookie QBs (fifth rounder John Skelton and undrafted free agent Max Hall) started a total of seven games, plus another first-year pro (undrafted free agent Richard Bartel) got some significant time in the finale. 2009 first-round pick Beanie Wells looks to be a bust in the backfield, and while Tim Hightower has a nose for the end zone, he also puts the ball on the ground too often. The offensive line surrendered 50 sacks. Through it all, it's amazing Larry Fitzgerald still managed to reel in 90 balls for 1,137 yards and six TDs.
Arizona shockingly made eight choices in the draft with a quarterback nary among them, meaning a trade must be in the mix.
But if you were running the Dolphins or Cardinals, would you go conservative and try to bring in McNabb only having to give up a third- or fourth-round choice? Or do you push all your chips to the middle of the table -- along with your 2012 first rounder, at least -- for Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb?
With so few suitors and the divide between McNabb and the Shanahans only growing wider, don't be surprised if the six-time Pro Bowler simply gets released.
|John Crist is an NFL analyst for Scout com, a voter for the Heisman Trophy and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.|