10-Pack: Eagles put big-time pressure on themselves

ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio weighs in on the Donovan McNabb trade:

1. The pressure is on the Eagles. Two years ago, the Green Bay Packers were willing to send quarterback Brett Favre to any team outside the NFC North. Indeed, the Packers’ desire to avoid facing Favre prompted Green Bay to include a provision in its trade terms to the Jets that jacked up the compensation to three first-round picks if New York then shipped him to the Bears, Vikings or Lions.

The Eagles had no such fear with McNabb. They handed him to the Redskins for a second-round pick in 2010 and either a third-round pick or a fourth-round pick in 2011, and they won’t be looking back.

Philly is willing to face Donovan McNabb twice a year, at the risk of being passed by the Redskins.
Philly is willing to face Donovan McNabb twice a year, at the risk of being passed by the Redskins.

They won’t have to look back. They’ll see McNabb twice per year. And the real concern should come from whether they ever see him while looking up.

Though plenty of Philly fans were ready to see him get shipped out of town, few will be forgiving if McNabb and the Redskins finish ahead of the Eagles in the standings — or if McNabb and the Redskins advance deeper than the Eagles into the postseason.

And if McNabb gets his fingerprints on a Lombardi Trophy, the pitchforks and torches crowd will dismantle the NovaCare Complex, brick by brick.

So the pressure is on the Eagles, like few teams have ever faced.

2. As in the Jay Cutler deal, the winner came out of nowhere. I’ve been pushing for more than a week the news that teams other than the Raiders, Bills and Rams had been talking to the Eagles, but that those teams wanted to keep their interest in McNabb tightly under wraps. I also firmly believed that, like last year’s trade of Jay Cutler, the quarterback’s new team wouldn’t be a team that anyone was thinking about.

And that’s precisely what happened. Despite those reports that the Raiders were the front-runners, the Redskins pulled the trigger.

Ironically, the Redskins were the team in 2009 most likely to get Cutler. They didn’t; now they’ve got McNabb.

3. The Eagles didn’t want Albert Haynesworth. In the wake of Saturday’s report by Fox’s Jay Glazer that the Redskins had been talking to the Eagles about McNabb, rumors emerged that the Redskins had been willing to send the defensive tackle and safety LaRon Landry to Philly.

Though it’s unclear whether Haynesworth ever was officially offered, a league source told me Sunday night that the Eagles didn’t want him.

If Haynesworth was indeed dangled as part of the McNabb trade, it means that Haynesworth could be available in other possible deals. And that would make sense. Haynesworth has been a major disappointment, and real concerns exist regarding the manner in which he’ll fit — or, more accurately, won’t fit — with the new regime.

4. Eagles-Redskins needs to invade prime time in Week 1. When the NFL delayed the annual announcement of the Week 1 prime-time games and the trio of Thanksgiving contests, some speculated that the uncertain status of two Pennsylvania quarterbacks — Ben Roethlisberger and Donovan McNabb — were forcing the delay.

Now that McNabb has joined the Redskins, the ideal matchup for Week 1 prime time is Philly-Washington.

Unfortunately for ESPN, the NFL already has committed the early Monday night game to the Jets. That leaves Sunday night, on NBC, as the ideal landing spot for McNabb’s first game against the franchise with which he spent 11 seasons.

5. Will this be just a one-year stay? One of the biggest questions the Redskins will face is whether McNabb will stay for a year, or whether he’ll be signed to a long-term extension.

Then there’s the open question regarding whether the franchise tag will be available in 2011, given that the labor agreement expires in March.

Regardless of whether the Redskins would be able to keep McNabb from leaving after only one season, it’s likely that the Redskins — buoyed by the deep pockets of owner Dan Snyder — will get a deal done. After all, the Redskins didn’t make their typical cannonball into the free-agent pool. That money saved can be used to keep McNabb for the next four or five years.

6. Is McNabb’s next stop St. Louis? The McNabb trade comes at a time when the Redskins were kicking tires on a trio of possible first-round quarterbacks: Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, and Colt McCoy. The initial reaction? It was all a ruse.

But was it? With the Rams apparently unwilling to give up the first pick in the second round of the draft for McNabb, would St. Louis be willing to take him and the fourth pick in Round 1 for the No. 1 overall selection?

Under this theory, the Redskins would use McNabb as the ammunition to get in position to draft Bradford. Given the glowing comments that coach Mike Shanahan made about McNabb on Sunday night, it’s highly unlikely. But given that the Redskins have been throwing a string of curveballs ever since Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen arrived, nothing can be ruled out.

7. Jason Campbell, meet the trading the block. With McNabb in, Jason Campbell undoubtedly is out.

And the Redskins should be able to get something of value for the restricted free agent. Last year, Campbell had a higher completion percentage (64.5) than McNabb (60.3), in essentially the same passing attack. Campbell accomplished that feat despite playing behind an inferior offensive line.

The obvious candidates include the teams that had been openly linked to McNabb, like the Bills and the Raiders.

8. Bruce Allen is the early favorite for Executive of the Year. Though Mike Shanahan has the real juice in D.C., someone is setting the table. And that someone is doing a pretty good job.

For starters, Allen persuaded Snyder to resist his big-spending nature in a depressed free-agent market. Then, Allen scooped up some decent values, like Larry Johnson and Willie Parker.

Along the way, Allen renegotiated the big-dollar contracts of Haynesworth and cornerback DeAngelo Hall, taking advantage of the rules of the uncapped year and planning for the likely return of the salary cap.

Getting McNabb for a second-round round pick and a conditional choice in 2011 becomes the coup de grace. In a quarterback’s league, having an elite one makes a team an instant contender. Thus, the Redskins instantly are contenders in their division, and in their conference.

9. A new contract is coming for Kevin Kolb. McNabb’s departure means Kolb will be the new starter in Philly. Those seeds were planted three years ago, when the Eagles traded out of Round 1 with the Cowboys and took Kolb at the top of Round 2.

The transition to Kolb became inevitable when he became the first quarterback in league history to throw for more than 300 yards in his first two starts.

The next step for Kolb? A contract that will pay him a large pile of money to be "the guy" for the next six or seven years. Per a league source, the Eagles have not yet spoken to Kolb about a deal that would replace his current contract, which expires after the 2010 season. But, surely, it’s coming soon.

And then, when the soon-to-be 26-year-old is on the wrong side of 30, the Eagles will likely line up the next young quarterback to eventually take the reins.

10. Suddenly, the Eagles need Mike Vick. With McNabb gone, Vick suddenly becomes the primary backup in Philadelphia. Given that injuries forced McNabb to miss 17 games in the last five years, that there’s a decent chance we’ll see Vick in a role other than part-time gimmick.

It also means that Vick has a shot at winning the job outright, if he can light it up during offseason workouts and training camp and if Kolb struggles as the presumed starter.

Either way, it’s good for Vick. He wasn’t going to be installed automatically as the starter with any team this year. As a result, the best place he could be is right where he currently is, as the primary backup — at worst — to Kolb.

Mike Florio writes and edits ProFootballTalk.com and is a regular contributor to Sporting News. Check out PFT for up-to-the minute NFL news.

ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio weighs in on the Donovan McNabb trade:

1. The pressure is on the Eagles. Two years ago, the Green Bay Packers were willing to send quarterback Brett Favre to any team outside the NFC North. Indeed, the Packers’ desire to avoid facing Favre prompted Green Bay to include a provision in its trade terms to the Jets that jacked up the compensation to three first-round picks if New York then shipped him to the Bears, Vikings or Lions.

The Eagles had no such fear with McNabb. They handed him to the Redskins for a second-round pick in 2010 and either a third-round pick or a fourth-round pick in 2011, and they won’t be looking back.

Philly is willing to face Donovan McNabb twice a year, at the risk of being passed by the Redskins.
Philly is willing to face Donovan McNabb twice a year, at the risk of being passed by the Redskins.

They won’t have to look back. They’ll see McNabb twice per year. And the real concern should come from whether they ever see him while looking up.

Though plenty of Philly fans were ready to see him get shipped out of town, few will be forgiving if McNabb and the Redskins finish ahead of the Eagles in the standings — or if McNabb and the Redskins advance deeper than the Eagles into the postseason.

And if McNabb gets his fingerprints on a Lombardi Trophy, the pitchforks and torches crowd will dismantle the NovaCare Complex, brick by brick.

So the pressure is on the Eagles, like few teams have ever faced.

2. As in the Jay Cutler deal, the winner came out of nowhere. I’ve been pushing for more than a week the news that teams other than the Raiders, Bills and Rams had been talking to the Eagles, but that those teams wanted to keep their interest in McNabb tightly under wraps. I also firmly believed that, like last year’s trade of Jay Cutler, the quarterback’s new team wouldn’t be a team that anyone was thinking about.

And that’s precisely what happened. Despite those reports that the Raiders were the front-runners, the Redskins pulled the trigger.

Ironically, the Redskins were the team in 2009 most likely to get Cutler. They didn’t; now they’ve got McNabb.

3. The Eagles didn’t want Albert Haynesworth. In the wake of Saturday’s report by Fox’s Jay Glazer that the Redskins had been talking to the Eagles about McNabb, rumors emerged that the Redskins had been willing to send the defensive tackle and safety LaRon Landry to Philly.

Though it’s unclear whether Haynesworth ever was officially offered, a league source told me Sunday night that the Eagles didn’t want him.

If Haynesworth was indeed dangled as part of the McNabb trade, it means that Haynesworth could be available in other possible deals. And that would make sense. Haynesworth has been a major disappointment, and real concerns exist regarding the manner in which he’ll fit — or, more accurately, won’t fit — with the new regime.

4. Eagles-Redskins needs to invade prime time in Week 1. When the NFL delayed the annual announcement of the Week 1 prime-time games and the trio of Thanksgiving contests, some speculated that the uncertain status of two Pennsylvania quarterbacks — Ben Roethlisberger and Donovan McNabb — were forcing the delay.

Now that McNabb has joined the Redskins, the ideal matchup for Week 1 prime time is Philly-Washington.

Unfortunately for ESPN, the NFL already has committed the early Monday night game to the Jets. That leaves Sunday night, on NBC, as the ideal landing spot for McNabb’s first game against the franchise with which he spent 11 seasons.

5. Will this be just a one-year stay? One of the biggest questions the Redskins will face is whether McNabb will stay for a year, or whether he’ll be signed to a long-term extension.

Then there’s the open question regarding whether the franchise tag will be available in 2011, given that the labor agreement expires in March.

Regardless of whether the Redskins would be able to keep McNabb from leaving after only one season, it’s likely that the Redskins — buoyed by the deep pockets of owner Dan Snyder — will get a deal done. After all, the Redskins didn’t make their typical cannonball into the free-agent pool. That money saved can be used to keep McNabb for the next four or five years.

6. Is McNabb’s next stop St. Louis? The McNabb trade comes at a time when the Redskins were kicking tires on a trio of possible first-round quarterbacks: Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, and Colt McCoy. The initial reaction? It was all a ruse.

But was it? With the Rams apparently unwilling to give up the first pick in the second round of the draft for McNabb, would St. Louis be willing to take him and the fourth pick in Round 1 for the No. 1 overall selection?

Under this theory, the Redskins would use McNabb as the ammunition to get in position to draft Bradford. Given the glowing comments that coach Mike Shanahan made about McNabb on Sunday night, it’s highly unlikely. But given that the Redskins have been throwing a string of curveballs ever since Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen arrived, nothing can be ruled out.

7. Jason Campbell, meet the trading the block. With McNabb in, Jason Campbell undoubtedly is out.

And the Redskins should be able to get something of value for the restricted free agent. Last year, Campbell had a higher completion percentage (64.5) than McNabb (60.3), in essentially the same passing attack. Campbell accomplished that feat despite playing behind an inferior offensive line.

The obvious candidates include the teams that had been openly linked to McNabb, like the Bills and the Raiders.

8. Bruce Allen is the early favorite for Executive of the Year. Though Mike Shanahan has the real juice in D.C., someone is setting the table. And that someone is doing a pretty good job.

For starters, Allen persuaded Snyder to resist his big-spending nature in a depressed free-agent market. Then, Allen scooped up some decent values, like Larry Johnson and Willie Parker.

Along the way, Allen renegotiated the big-dollar contracts of Haynesworth and cornerback DeAngelo Hall, taking advantage of the rules of the uncapped year and planning for the likely return of the salary cap.

Getting McNabb for a second-round round pick and a conditional choice in 2011 becomes the coup de grace. In a quarterback’s league, having an elite one makes a team an instant contender. Thus, the Redskins instantly are contenders in their division, and in their conference.

9. A new contract is coming for Kevin Kolb. McNabb’s departure means Kolb will be the new starter in Philly. Those seeds were planted three years ago, when the Eagles traded out of Round 1 with the Cowboys and took Kolb at the top of Round 2.

The transition to Kolb became inevitable when he became the first quarterback in league history to throw for more than 300 yards in his first two starts.

The next step for Kolb? A contract that will pay him a large pile of money to be "the guy" for the next six or seven years. Per a league source, the Eagles have not yet spoken to Kolb about a deal that would replace his current contract, which expires after the 2010 season. But, surely, it’s coming soon.

And then, when the soon-to-be 26-year-old is on the wrong side of 30, the Eagles will likely line up the next young quarterback to eventually take the reins.

10. Suddenly, the Eagles need Mike Vick. With McNabb gone, Vick suddenly becomes the primary backup in Philadelphia. Given that injuries forced McNabb to miss 17 games in the last five years, that there’s a decent chance we’ll see Vick in a role other than part-time gimmick.

It also means that Vick has a shot at winning the job outright, if he can light it up during offseason workouts and training camp and if Kolb struggles as the presumed starter.

Either way, it’s good for Vick. He wasn’t going to be installed automatically as the starter with any team this year. As a result, the best place he could be is right where he currently is, as the primary backup — at worst — to Kolb.

Mike Florio writes and edits ProFootballTalk.com and is a regular contributor to Sporting News. Check out PFT for up-to-the minute NFL news.

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