You all knew I would weigh in on the Eagles' biggest offseason story eventually, right?
Well, much like the team, I've taken my time.
See, the Eagles seem content to go into 2010 with three quarterbacks all in the final year of their contracts. Apparently, what some see as a circus, they see as a minute detail.
But allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment and say this: If one bird has to have his wings clipped, wouldn’t it make the most sense for it to be the biggest?
Yes, that may sound like blasphemy. Heck, as a fan, I don’t even want to say it—Donovan McNabb’s No. 5 was only the second Eagles jersey I ever purchased, and of the four I count in my closet today, his is the only one that is not yet a throwback.
But it’s time for the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense to grow, instead of growing old.
And for that to happen optimally, McNabb would have to be out of the picture.
This isn’t a similar situation to Brian Westbrook, or even to Brian Dawkins. McNabb can clearly still play at a high level, and any move that results in him no longer being an Eagle wouldn’t be a huge surprise.
No, it’s more about turning the corner.
Forget the arguments that the team is “stagnant” or that McNabb has never won anything. Neither did Dan Marino, but the Dolphins stuck with him until he could barely walk because they knew he gave them the best chance to do so.
The problem is that I’m not so sure McNabb is in that same position anymore.
Even though he’s only 33 (34 in November), McNabb has become a one-dimensional quarterback. Not only are his days of trying to be Vince Young over, his days of even channeling that spirit once in a blue moon are over.
Barring the 2005 season he missed almost half of, McNabb had a career-low 140 rushing yards last season. That comes on the heels of 2008, when he set his previous career low: 147.
Okay, so had he not missed two-and-a-half games due to injury and time in others due to the Wildcat, chances are he would’ve gotten eight more yards, but the point remains that the days of him being a threat to run in any situation are over.
Sure, a career rap sheet including a broken ankle, a torn ACL, a sports hernia, and broken ribs on a touchdown carry will do that to you.
But, what inspires more confidence out of your quarterback: him scrambling to try and make something happen, or him throwing a ball at a receiver’s feet because he doesn’t want to try?
If McNabb won’t (or can’t) move, he becomes a pocket passer—and as good of a quarterback as McNabb is, he’s NEVER been a straight pocket guy.
So if the only attribute he brings to the table that Kevin Kolb doesn’t is experience, why not make a change?
Kolb has good size (6’3”, 220 lbs.), great arm strength (which means he can hit DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on those long routes), and is an adequate runner for someone his size—which isn’t any worse than McNabb at this point.
Plus, he’ll barely be 26 this season, which fits in with the youth movement on offense. After McNabb, the only other offensive player on the roster—lineman or skill—who has seen his 30th birthday as of March 1 is Kevin Curtis.
With Leonard Weaver (28 in September), Jason Avant (27 in April), Brent Celek (25), Jeremy Maclin (22 in May), and LeSean McCoy (22 in July) under contract for at least three more years and DeSean Jackson next in line for an extension, it would make sense to plug in the younger quarterback.
Otherwise, when 2013 comes along and most of that core is in or approaching their walk years, they’ll be looking at an offense with a 36-year-old signal-caller rapidly becoming a shell of his former self.
Makes sense, no?
And hey, if the Birds do this and stink in 2010, they at least have the uber-exciting Michael Vick (who is only going to be 30 himself) waiting in the wings, and can look for a franchise passer in 2011.
In conclusion, if the Eagles can get any high-round pick or more for McNabb, now might be the time, when he still has a few good years left in him but not enough to still be the cornerstone of the franchise.
Teams will bite—just ask Brett Favre.