I’m going to be honest. I don’t think the Eagles are going to trade McNabb this offseason. I’ll save my opinions on whether they should or shouldn’t for now. The idea of shipping the 11 year pro off to some other team hasn’t gone away in five years. Why would it stop now? We’ll likely be discussing the plausibility about it into the late hours of the 2010 draft.
Things are always worse than they sound in Philadelphia. The fanbase is passionate, impatient and a little more than half-crazy and if you’re not familiar with the local sports media figures, I can tell you they would list cage-rattling considerably higher than journalistic integrity in their job descriptions. Three losses to Dallas and all sports radio needs to do to get the loyal locals climbing the walls is run off a list of where the Eagles could trade their six time Pro Bowl quarterback.
But wild-eyed speculation has it’s place in all sports writing. So let’s consider one of the lesser named landing spots for McNabb: the Denver Broncos. Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders were extremely aggressive in last year’s offseason and their efforts paid off to some extent. They handled the Jay Cutler situation admirably and Brandon Marshall didn’t exactly make things easy for them either. Kyle Orton turned out to be an exceptional game-managing quarterback, and while they lost eight of their last 10 games, Orton can hardly be blamed for their failures.
Still, the Broncos are in a weak division and Orton has limitations. For many teams, he would simply be an above average stopgap. With the 10th pick in the first round, it’s unlikely that the Broncos will be able to secure Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen, but they do have two second rounders and Brandon Marshall as ammunition to move up. (Marshall recently issued a few statements regarding his deference to Denver’s decision making, but I think a big part of that is his agent trying to smooth over his attitude for trade appeal.) Marshall isn’t an attractive option for the Eagles, but Orton might be. If the Eagles ship McNabb and Vick (one of those is a certainty, two isn’t impossible), their only real option as a backup will be someone in the vein of second-year Temple grad Adam DiMichele.
If the Eagles decide to turn the page on McNabb, they can’t very well ship him to Arizona or Minnesota, two teams that are simply a Pro Bowl quarterback away from being NFC Championship contenders. It’s hard to gauge whether McNabb would be receptive to the idea of leaving for perennial losers like Oakland or Cleveland. Denver seems to have an eye for Eagles players, with Buckhalter and Dawkins and they certainly have a history of winning. Trading McNabb to the AFC would certainly make the deal sweeter for the Philadelphia.