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Eagles surprisingly deal McNabb to rival Redskins

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Posted April 04, 2010 @ 8:21 p.m. ET
By PFW staff

Updated April 4, 2010 @ 11:03 p.m. ET

In what has been the most surprising move of the entire NFL offseason, the Eagles have traded QB Donovan McNabb to the division-rival Redskins.

The Eagles will receive the Redskins' second-round draft pick, No. 37 overall, and either a third- or fourth-round pick in 2011 for possibly the best quarterback in franchise history. McNabb currently has the third-highest winning percentage (.647) among active quarterbacks behind Peyton Manning (.669) and Tom Brady (.779).

“This was a very tough decision,” Eagles head coach Andy Reid said in a team-issued statement prior to speaking with the media. “Donovan McNabb represented everything a football player could be during his 11 seasons in Philadelphia. He carried this organization to new heights and set a high standard of excellence both on and off the field. We thank him for everything he did for this football team and for this city.”

Trading McNabb is not shocking. Reid said the team was entertaining offers for McNabb and Kevin Kolb, and many believed McNabb's time in Philadelphia had come to an end.

But dealing him within the division is the most surprising element. There had been various reports that the Raiders and Bills were interested in McNabb's services for the past week. The Vikings said they were not interested.

“Donovan McNabb was more than a franchise quarterback for this team,” Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie said. “He truly embodied all of the attributes of a great quarterback and of a great person. He has been an excellent representative of this organization and the entire National Football League both on and off the field. I look forward to honoring him as one of the greatest Eagles of all time and hopefully (will) see (him) enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton one day. I wish Donovan and his beautiful family great health and joy for many, many years to come.”

McNabb, 33, has one year remaining on his current deal at $11.2 million. He will have at least two chances to prove his former club made a mistake in games against the Eagles this coming season.

For the Redskins, they have acquired a Pro Bowl quarterback, which they have lacked in recent years at what has been a revolving door at the position over the past decade.

"Donovan is an accomplished quarterback who has been a proven winner in the National Football League," Redskins executive vice president/head coach Mike Shanahan said. "I have long admired his competitiveness and feel he will be an outstanding addition to the Redskins and our community. He knows our division and the roadmap to success in the NFC East. He will set a high standard of excellence and we are very excited to welcome Donovan to the Washington Redskins."

QB Jason Campbell had held down the spot for most of the previous three seasons and was the presumed starter heading into next season in Washington.

No longer. Assuming the deal goes through, McNabb will assume controls of Mike Shanahan's offense and give the Redskins instant credibility. Now comes the question of what happens to Campbell, a restricted free agent who has yet to sign his high tender offer. It's very likely he'll be dealt, and the Bills would be a logical team on which to land. Reports say that Shanahan's first call upon completing the deal was to Campbell, but there was no word on what the coach's message was.

The Eagles, meanwhile, will turn to Kolb, who was the assumed successor to McNabb and had two 300-yard passing games in his place while McNabb was hurt this season. The former second-round pick in 2007 has attempted only 130 NFL passes but was especially impressive in his second career start last season, throwing for 327 yards and two TDs with no turnovers against the Chiefs. He has a strong arm, moves well and makes quick decisions, though his gambling has cost him at times in his brief NFL career.

"(Those two starts) gave him good game experience, number one, and two, we were able to see what he does under those conditions," Reid said to the media on a conference call Sunday night. "I think it was important, yes."

The Eagles also have on the roster Michael Vick, who occasionally ran Wildcat and specialty-type plays in his first season back from an NFL suspension for contributing to illegal dogfighting operations. Reid said he's excited to see what Vick can do next season.

"I have a heck of a lot of respect for Michael Vick," Reid said when asked whether the trade would affect Vick's role in 2010. "He is a tremendous football player. He's back in the swing now, and I think last year was great for him, just to get back to where he wanted to be. We'll see how things go. I know it's a great situation to have as a head football coach. We'll see how Michael goes as we go on."

There had been reports in the past week that Reid wanted to give another team other than the Raiders and Bills — whom McNabb was not believed to want to play for — a chance to enter the fray.

"Well, we thought about (the ramifications of trading McNabb within the division)," Reid said. "We just thought it was the best deal for us and for Donovan.

"Things like this happen in the National Football League, and we thought that was OK by doing it."

Leave it to the Redskins, quiet for much of the offseason, to swoop in and make a deal. Owner Daniel Snyder was very interested in trading for Jay Cutler last year and moving up in the draft in 2009 to select Mark Sanchez, but the team failed to land either one.

Now they have a quarterback who has had several big games against the Redskins, including two wins against them last season. McNabb has a young receiving corps to work with in Washington but also has veteran receiving options in WR Santana Moss and TE Chris Cooley.

McNabb fits into the Shanahan West Coast-themed scheme well. He has run a similar offense in Philadelphia that calls for a lot of play-action, rollouts and bootlegs, and McNabb showed last season he still can hit the deep ball effectively.

One interesting element: McNabb is more than three years older than Kyle Shanahan, the man who will be calling plays for the Redskins.

This potential deal also changes both the Eagles' and the Redskins' draft approaches significantly.

The Eagles have 11 picks in April's draft — including two each in the second, third and fourth rounds — and possess the ammo to move up from their current position in Round One, No. 24 overall, and select an elite athlete, perhaps on the defensive side of the ball.

"Every year I say this, but it's true: You sit there and you analyze your moves up, your moves back, staying right where you're at, (whether) you trade into next year, whatever it might be," Reid said. "You look at all those options and you kind of go from there. But we haven't made any decisions on that. We need players on this football team, so we could use all 11 (picks) and at the same time I'm sure we'll look at maneuvering and keeping our eyes and ears open on that."

The Redskins, meanwhile, have their quarterback and won't be making a move for Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen, the highest-rated QBs. Their biggest need appears to be on the offensive line, and a tackle could be the pick when they choose fourth overall. A trade down also appears very appealing considering they have only four choices remaining following the McNabb trade.

McNabb and Reid have been tied together almost since the day Reid took the job in Philadelphia. Together, they went to five NFC title games and won one conference championship, losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. Reid said earlier this offseason that McNabb was his starter as things stood at that point, but movement toward a deal had heated up in the past few weeks.

"Really nothing changed until we ended up trading him," Reid said. "He was our No. 1 quarterback had he come back next year. If we didn't do the trade, then he was our guy. I literally sat back and listened to different deals as they were presented to us on all three quarterbacks, and I thought that this was the best (trade). And at the same time, it gave Donovan an opportunity to go someplace that he would like to go to."

Reid denied an report that McNabb "handpicked" a deal to Washington over Oakland.

McNabb and Philadelphia had their share of ups and downs, though he clearly never was roundly beloved by the city's faithful. The Eagles were extremely praiseworthy of McNabb's legacy.

"It's hard to lose him, period," Reid said. "We've been together for 11 years. But at the same time, I think both of us know that we're running a business and you kind of go that direction with it. Listen, you can't erase the last 11 years. They've been great years, and he's a phenomenal player. He has made his mark. He's a (future) Hall of Fame player, and I think when it's all said and done, we'll see him again."

“Donovan is the ultimate professional,” Eagles president Joe Banner said. “He has an incredible work ethic and has been an integral part of our success. Over the years, Donovan has always carried himself with a great deal of dignity.  He’s an excellent role model for young men and women from across the region. In my mind, he’ll always be remembered as one of the greatest Eagles of all time.”

Added new Eagles GM Howie Roseman: "Donovan is clearly one of the all-time greatest Eagles and he represented this team and this city with class over the last 11 years. Certainly a deal of his magnitude took a lot of time and effort to accomplish and it was certainly a tough decision to make in the end. We wish he and his family all the best.”


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