Multiple Dilemmas in Seeking McNabb Trade

Minnesota Vikings fans love talking about the possibility of trading for Donovan McNabb, but how realistic is it? We look at the issues surrounding a potential trade, from Philadelphia's willingness, McNabb's history and statistics, and his impressive contract situation.

For as much as Brad Childress references Donovan McNabb's progress while the two were coach and player together with the Philadelphia Eagles, it's easy to see how much Childress respects McNabb.

That respect – and the questions surrounding if Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson did enough to maintain the starting job in Minnesota – has created plenty of intrigue over the possibilities of the Vikings pursuing McNabb in a trade.

A statement by Eagles president Joe Banner in late December saying that he expected McNabb to be the starter in Philadelphia in 2008 took some of the momentum away from the trade speculation, but with a hefty contract and second-round draft pick Kevin Kolb waiting in the wings, it wouldn't be a complete surprise if the Eagles' actions didn't follow Banner's words.

In 2002, McNabb signed a 14-year, $115 million contract, but he's unlikely to see the end of that contract as the base salaries and cap hits grow in future years. In 2007, his salary-cap hit was $8.6 million, and that escalates to $9.4 million in 2008, with $3 million of that in a prorated signing bonus that begins to decrease in coming years. Meanwhile, his base salary escalates to $9.2 million in 2009, but that is the first of a few option years in his contract.

By 2013, McNabb's contract would bring an incredible cap hit of $16.2 million, but it's highly unlikely the current 31-year old will ever see the final years of his deal. If the Eagles have faith that Kolb can be an effective starter, they might decide to trade McNabb and cut their 2008 cap hit on him almost in half and move the franchise in a new direction with other players obtained in a deal or draft picks secured from that trade.

If so, it would be the end of an up-and-down era for McNabb in Philadelphia, where he endured boos on his 1999 draft day, proceeded to lead the team to four NFC Championship games and secure five Pro Bowl nominations, and has dealt with various injuries and a long and very public controversy involving wide receiver Terrell Owens in 2005.

In an interview with after the 2005 season, McNabb was talking extensively about the Owens situation and was asked if teammates viewed McNabb as too much of a "company guy" because of his extensive contract.

"I don't make the decisions. I'm not the guy sitting in there going over the contracts, the game plan, who's going to make the team and who's not," he told ESPN. "There's going to come a time when I'm going to get released, traded, or whatever it may be. I'm just like the rest of the guys. I'm a little different in a lot of ways, but I'm still a player with a number on his back and if I'm unable to produce, they'll find somebody else to fill my spot."

Since McNabb made that statement, Owens has taken his talent and attitude to the Dallas Cowboys while McNabb has tried and been unable to return the Eagles to the conference championship. Last week, McNabb may have irked the company that employs him when he called for more playmakers in Philadelphia on his blog on According to a report in, McNabb and other players were saying similar things during their 8-8 season, but Eagles head coach Andy Reid declined to comment when asked about those sentiments at his season-ending season press conference on New Year's Eve, saying he didn't hear McNabb's comments so he didn't want to respond to the question about them. One week later, McNabb published his thoughts on his blog.

There, he reference franchises doing well who brought in playmakers through free agency and trades and added, "I'm surprised that anyone would have a problem with me, or anyone else in the organization, expressing a desire to bring in more quality players. We were 8-8. There is room for improvement. This is a competitive sport. It's about putting together the best players, the best team, and giving yourself the best chance to win," McNabb wrote.

That blog post has set up another round of speculation on whether McNabb will be the Eagles' starting quarterback in 2008 or if the team is ready to move on and look into potential trade offers.

McNabb has a career passer rating of 85.5. In 2007, it was 89.9 as he completed 61.5 percent of his passes but took good care of the ball with 19 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 14 games. Avoiding interceptions is an emphasis with Childress, who preaches the importance of his offensive players avoiding costly mistakes.

However, McNabb did lose five fumbles in 2007. And injuries are also a concern of late, as he missed two games in 2007, six in 2006 and seven in 2005.

There are so many layers and issues to think about between the potential of starting Jackson or trading for McNabb that it is anyone's guess as to what will ultimately happen. Do the Eagles have any desire to move McNabb? If so, what kind of draft picks or current NFL players would it take to make that happen? And would the Vikings really be willing to part with so much while still trying to develop a quarterback of the future?

As of now, there are far more questions than concrete answers.

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