McNabb trade is best solution to Eagles’ QB quandary

It’s the hot question asked every offseason for the last decade: Will Donovan McNabb be back in Philadelphia?

Before Jay Cutler was traded to the Bears in 2009, McNabb was supposed to eventually play for his hometown team in Chicago. This year, several QB-needy teams, including the Rams, have been rumored to want McNabb.

In a league desperate for viable passers, the Eagles are in the advantageous position of having three intriguing commodities. Yet, while a number of other quarterbacks already have changed addresses this offseason, Philadelphia hasn’t done anything about its surplus.

There’s plenty of time to make a move, but the ultimate decisions regarding McNabb, promising young backup Kevin Kolb and Wildcat wild card Michael Vick will be crucial to the franchise’s future, both for the short- and long-term. All three are in the final years of their contracts.

The Eagles need to put emotion aside and deal No. 5 while his value is high.
The Eagles need to put emotion aside and deal No. 5 while his value is high.

So what is the best-case scenario for the Eagles and their quarterbacks? That requires a thorough examination:

Donovan McNabb

The case for him: McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowler, is playing some of the best, most efficient football of his 11-year career. He is 33—eight months younger than Peyton Manning—and has a string of good years left. McNabb’s experience and steady leadership have made the Eagles a consistent playoff team.

The case against him: There’s a perception that McNabb doesn’t carry over regular-season success into the playoffs, backed up by a 9-7 playoff record with 17 interceptions and a so-so 80.0 passer rating. Because the Eagles are 1-4 in NFC championship games, there’s a lingering sense of frustration that comes with just coming up short.

"To their fans, they’re always winning the silver medal with him," ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley said. "After a while, when you can’t win gold, it’s like they would prefer to not be in it at all."

An amicable separation might be in order. McNabb would thrive in a similar offense with a change of scenery where he’s perceived as the savior, and his trade value only will decrease over time.

Kevin Kolb

The case for him: Let’s turn to Exhibits A and B, the two starts Kolb made when McNabb missed Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2009 season with fractured ribs. Kolb made history with back-to-back 300-yard outings, proving he has good grasp of the offense and good chemistry with his receivers.

With Kolb, wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Brent Celek, the Eagles could go forward with a young nucleus—all 25 or younger—that can be successful together for years.

"Kolb is totally ready," NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said.

The case against him: Because of his youth and great potential, another team might decide to throw a can’t-refuse offer of multiple high draft picks at Philadelphia to acquire Kolb. That’s the only way the Eagles should even consider trading Kolb.

Michael Vick 

The case for him: Despite seeing limited action in his first season in Philadelphia—mostly as a running threat—Vick carried himself well on and off the field last year, showing some maturity and some of the same skills that made him a superstar in Atlanta.

"You could see the progression of getting back to where he was as an athlete," Wiley said. "It might not be too long before where we see the old explosive Vick."

Barring injuries, it will be tough for Vick to get on the field in Philadelphia as a pure quarterback but he can be much more than an occasional cog if given the chance.

The case against him: The evidence is stacked against Vick in terms of him ever assuming the starting role in Philadelphia.

"He can’t run this offense," Baldinger said. "They should hold onto him as a backup unless other teams overpursue him."

It’s hard to believe there’s no market for Vick, considering the Seahawks just made a big deal to acquire former Chargers backup Charlie Whitehurst, who is 27 and never has thrown an NFL pass. Vick is just two years older with great starting experience.

The Eagles are a playoff-caliber team but still have notable holes—safety, linebacker, defensive end, offensive line—and can’t afford the luxury of keeping Vick when a trade could return a useful part for the 2010 season.

The verdict

As tough as it might be for coach Andy Reid and owner Jeffrey Lurie, the Eagles can’t be conservative; instead, they should trade McNabb. Sure, the bold Terrell Owens signing a few years ago didn’t quite work out, but that aggressive move did help the team reach Super Bowl 39.

"Andy Reid has a hard time letting No. 5 go because it was his first pick—and a great pick," Baldinger said. "The hardest thing for a coach is to let a player go whose time has come and gone. There is great emotion involved."

Kolb has the confidence and talent to take the reins. And Vick, with a $5 million price tag in ’09, would be more acceptable as a No. 2 quarterback. In the ideal situation, the Eagles would trade Vick, too, and stock up on draft picks to help rebuild the defense.

This story appears in March 23’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

Vinnie Iyer is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

It’s the hot question asked every offseason for the last decade: Will Donovan McNabb be back in Philadelphia?

Before Jay Cutler was traded to the Bears in 2009, McNabb was supposed to eventually play for his hometown team in Chicago. This year, several QB-needy teams, including the Rams, have been rumored to want McNabb.

In a league desperate for viable passers, the Eagles are in the advantageous position of having three intriguing commodities. Yet, while a number of other quarterbacks already have changed addresses this offseason, Philadelphia hasn’t done anything about its surplus.

There’s plenty of time to make a move, but the ultimate decisions regarding McNabb, promising young backup Kevin Kolb and Wildcat wild card Michael Vick will be crucial to the franchise’s future, both for the short- and long-term. All three are in the final years of their contracts.

The Eagles need to put emotion aside and deal No. 5 while his value is high.
The Eagles need to put emotion aside and deal No. 5 while his value is high.

So what is the best-case scenario for the Eagles and their quarterbacks? That requires a thorough examination:

Donovan McNabb

The case for him: McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowler, is playing some of the best, most efficient football of his 11-year career. He is 33—eight months younger than Peyton Manning—and has a string of good years left. McNabb’s experience and steady leadership have made the Eagles a consistent playoff team.

The case against him: There’s a perception that McNabb doesn’t carry over regular-season success into the playoffs, backed up by a 9-7 playoff record with 17 interceptions and a so-so 80.0 passer rating. Because the Eagles are 1-4 in NFC championship games, there’s a lingering sense of frustration that comes with just coming up short.

"To their fans, they’re always winning the silver medal with him," ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley said. "After a while, when you can’t win gold, it’s like they would prefer to not be in it at all."

An amicable separation might be in order. McNabb would thrive in a similar offense with a change of scenery where he’s perceived as the savior, and his trade value only will decrease over time.

Kevin Kolb

The case for him: Let’s turn to Exhibits A and B, the two starts Kolb made when McNabb missed Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2009 season with fractured ribs. Kolb made history with back-to-back 300-yard outings, proving he has good grasp of the offense and good chemistry with his receivers.

With Kolb, wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Brent Celek, the Eagles could go forward with a young nucleus—all 25 or younger—that can be successful together for years.

"Kolb is totally ready," NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said.

The case against him: Because of his youth and great potential, another team might decide to throw a can’t-refuse offer of multiple high draft picks at Philadelphia to acquire Kolb. That’s the only way the Eagles should even consider trading Kolb.

Michael Vick 

The case for him: Despite seeing limited action in his first season in Philadelphia—mostly as a running threat—Vick carried himself well on and off the field last year, showing some maturity and some of the same skills that made him a superstar in Atlanta.

"You could see the progression of getting back to where he was as an athlete," Wiley said. "It might not be too long before where we see the old explosive Vick."

Barring injuries, it will be tough for Vick to get on the field in Philadelphia as a pure quarterback but he can be much more than an occasional cog if given the chance.

The case against him: The evidence is stacked against Vick in terms of him ever assuming the starting role in Philadelphia.

"He can’t run this offense," Baldinger said. "They should hold onto him as a backup unless other teams overpursue him."

It’s hard to believe there’s no market for Vick, considering the Seahawks just made a big deal to acquire former Chargers backup Charlie Whitehurst, who is 27 and never has thrown an NFL pass. Vick is just two years older with great starting experience.

The Eagles are a playoff-caliber team but still have notable holes—safety, linebacker, defensive end, offensive line—and can’t afford the luxury of keeping Vick when a trade could return a useful part for the 2010 season.

The verdict

As tough as it might be for coach Andy Reid and owner Jeffrey Lurie, the Eagles can’t be conservative; instead, they should trade McNabb. Sure, the bold Terrell Owens signing a few years ago didn’t quite work out, but that aggressive move did help the team reach Super Bowl 39.

"Andy Reid has a hard time letting No. 5 go because it was his first pick—and a great pick," Baldinger said. "The hardest thing for a coach is to let a player go whose time has come and gone. There is great emotion involved."

Kolb has the confidence and talent to take the reins. And Vick, with a $5 million price tag in ’09, would be more acceptable as a No. 2 quarterback. In the ideal situation, the Eagles would trade Vick, too, and stock up on draft picks to help rebuild the defense.

This story appears in March 23’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

Vinnie Iyer is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at viyer@sportingnews.com.

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