Philadelphia Eagles: Should the Team Sign Donovan McNabb to Be the Backup QB?

Cody SwartzSenior Writer IAugust 5, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders on November 20, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles’ roster is absolutely stacked for 2012, with depth and incredible talent at nearly every positional group. The team enjoyed a tremendous offseason, drafting a slew of top players, trading for a much-needed linebacker and re-signing some of its own to well-deserved contracts.

The No. 1 problem for the team, though, is its backup quarterback. Behind Michael Vick, the Eagles have Mike Kafka, Nick Foles and Trent Edwards competing for the second and third spots, with the odd one out likely to be released. Kafka has the edge for the No. 2 spot, and Foles is probably the quarterback of the future.

However, Kafka isn’t talented enough to take over if Vick goes down in 2012. He played poorly last year when the team needed him, and he lacks the physical tools to make an impact. Foles isn’t ready to take over and will likely need several years to be groomed should be ever amount to anything. And Edwards is a former Buffalo Bills castoff who has no business as anything more than a clipboard carrier.

I petitioned for the Eagles to trade for Cleveland’s Colt McCoy a while back, but at that point, it doesn’t look as if McCoy will be going anywhere. I can’t imagine Andy Reid really feels comfortable going into this coming season with Kafka as his backup, which makes me wonder if ex-Philadelphia Eagle and ex-NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb may be a good option.

McNabb is 35 years old, and he played just six games last season but look at his numbers in Minnesota. He completed 60.3 percent of his passes, threw four touchdowns to just two interceptions, and posted an 82.9 passer rating in six starts. That’s not too shabby at all, considering it was his first year with the team coming after a shortened offseason.

According to Michael Lombardi of, there were reports of McNabb being out of shape and lazy in his work ethic, but that’s not exactly news to Philadelphia. He often played a little heavier than he should have been, but the bottom line is that he knows the West Coast offense like the back of his hand.

I just wonder if Philly would accept McNabb back in the city after a shaky 11-year tenure with the team that began when he was drafted second overall in the 1999 NFL draft.

McNabb had his moments with the Eagles, leading the team to five conference championship games and a Super Bowl, but ultimately, his failure to win the big game led the team to trade him to Washington for a second-round pick.

He’s currently unsigned after being released from the Vikings midway through last season, and despite McNabb saying he believes there's an 80 to 90 percent chance he will suit up somewhere in 2012 in an interview with NBC SportsTalk (h/t ESPN), no team has called his name yet.

I think McNabb would have to accept a backup role at this point (he would have to be crazy to think any team is going to want him as a starter at this point in his career). It would really take McNabb to swallow his pride to accept a backup role behind Vick—a player McNabb so openly endorsed in the offseason before the 2010 campaign.

But McNabb doesn’t have a lot of options left if he wants to play some more football, and despite the distraction he may be as a backup quarterback, the team needs to win now, and McNabb is a better option as a backup than Kafka, Foles or Edwards.