(Before you read anything else, say that title in a Mike Tyson voice, it’s WAY more entertaining!)
As usual, during the lead-up to the NFL draft, there are trade rumors flying. There are a few veteran names being bounced around with a variety of draft picks rumored to be going the other way in return. The veterans in question are typically either past their prime, unhappy with their current team, or asking for a new contract that seems over-valued.
This year, the only name that is really flying around is that of Donovan McNabb. At first it seemed like it was just a ridiculous rumor, but now it’s grown big enough, that there must be some substance to it.
Now, we all understand that our teams have to think about shopping our best players, because they could get enough in return to make it worthwhile. In this case, there is absolutely nothing to gain for either side.
Unless McNabb is going to a team with a shot at the Superbowl, I can’t see him being happy. Why would he want to jump to the Raiders or Rams? He’s not exactly ready to help a team rebuild.
More importantly, why would the Eagles want to deal him? The Eagles offense ranked 11th in Offensive DVOA last year with McNabb as it’s centerpiece and he finally has the receiving weapons to make his great arm worthwhile. For years he had to scramble for first downs when no one could get open, and now he finally has some aerial wingmen.
McNabb is still a very good quarterback and can easily take his team deep into the playoffs. The skeptics will point out some sort of “always a bridesmaid” argument, but that was Ricky Williams who wore the wedding dress. McNabb took the Eagles to the playoffs 6 times and has a 9-6 record in the postseason.
Just check out Donovan’s career passing stats from Football Outsiders.
The biggest hole I see in McNabb’s game over the last 5 seasons is his ability to stay healthy. That said, it’s a perfect scenario for the Eagles to develop Kevin Kolb. He can perform some mop-up duty when the Eagles blow out weak opponents and will probably start 2 or 3 games when he’s injured.
Kolb has started a grand total of 2 NFL games. In those games, he played pretty well, but it’s still only 2 games. He had a DVOA of 16.0% last year, which is quite good. That said, his two starts were against New Orleans in a game they were blown out and against Kansas City, a team that ranked 24th in defensive DVOA last year.
I realize that Kolb showed some brilliant flashes last season but let’s not jump all over him like the the league did with Scott Mitchell. Kolb had a quarterback rating of 88.9 in two starts and one appearance after McNabb was injured. In 1993, Scott Mitchell took over the reigns of the Miami Dolphins offense for 7 starts and finished with a QB rating of 84.2. He promptly signed a big deal with the Lions and only had one good season in 5 years, and was never the top-level quarterback they hoped for.
I’m not saying that Kevin Kolb is going to flop, but for every Matt Schaub and Aaron Rodgers, there is a Scott Mitchell. With a very good team on their hands, it could be suicide to trade away a veteran QB who has been the face of the franchise.
If the Eagles truly believe that Kolb is their QB of the future despite only seeing him start 2 games, then they should have no trouble leaving him behind McNabb for another year or two and using him as injury insurance for the most important position on the field.