Sometimes in order to go forward, you need to take a step back.
In the case of Donovan McNabb, he’s 35 and jobless, and after two failed attempts to revitalize his career in Washington and Minnesota, I’m willing to bet he’ll be contributing to that 8.2 percent unemployment rate a little while longer.
But what if he were willing to broaden his horizons and accept a backup role for a Super Bowl contender?
He’d be an immediate hot commodity on the market. However, the destination that would be most intriguing is Philadelphia.
Yeah, I said it! Philly!
Could you imagine if Donovan McNabb—the No. 2 pick in the 1999 draft who was welcomed by a collection of boos, who endured a tumultuous 11-year relationship with Philly fans, who was ultimately traded to the division rival Redskins for a pair of draft picks—returned to the City of Brotherly Love?
Yeah, neither could I. Nevertheless, let’s explore the possibility.
Michael Vick has only played a complete 16-game season once in his entire career. His video game-like, high-risk, high-reward style of play all but guarantees that he’ll be injured at some point during the season. Taking that into consideration, McNabb would have the opportunity to be under center for two, maybe three games.
Despite his brief stints with the Redskins and Vikings, I wouldn’t doubt that he still knows the Eagles’ playbook like the back of his hand. With a full training camp, there’s no reason why he couldn’t rekindle the rapport he had with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and the other weapons on that high-powered offense.
Yes, the last two seasons of his career were mediocre at best, having thrown just 18 touchdown passes to 17 interceptions with a 59 percent completion rate. But the only thing missing from his decorated resume is a Super Bowl. Regardless of his recent seasons, McNabb is still a six-time Pro Bowler, with 37,276 career passing yards to go along with a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In terms of all-time career interception percentage leaders, McNabb is tied with Tom Brady for the third-lowest rate—2.2 percent.
That isn’t anything to sneeze at.
In a recent interview with NFL Total Access, Reid had this to say about McNabb when asked if he would recommend him:
I tell them to take him. I still think he can play. I think the world of him, and we had some great years together here. I'm always wishing him the best and a fan of his. I got a chance to see him at Brian Dawkins' retirement (ceremony). He looks good. He looks physically good. He looks like he could go out and play tomorrow. I would highly recommend (him).
If Andy Reid still thinks so highly of the guy, then why not use him as a backup if the opportunity presented itself?
After Vick, the depth at quarterback, not including Trent Edwards, is still quite raw and unacquainted with the intricacies of a full-speed, regular-season game. For a team with an injury-prone quarterback, championship aspirations and an intolerant fanbase, having no depth at the most important position doesn’t bode well.
With McNabb, you have a seasoned veteran capable of filling in without disrupting the flow of the offense or diminishing his team’s confidence.
In the unlikely event that Donovan McNabb was ever willing to accept a limited role and was signed by Philadelphia, it’d be a win-win situation. The Eagles would have a good insurance policy for Michael Vick, and he’d inevitably get a chance to prove to the world that he still has his mojo. If he performed well, then maybe, just maybe, some other team might give him a shot.
But until that day arrives, McNabb better start practicing that golf swing because he won’t be playing football anytime soon.