Donovan McNabb's New Home: Who Are the Legitimate Candidates?
The Donovan McNabb sweepstakes have really been the high point in a somewhat dismal offseason, which is sad considering no deal has even been done.
Due to the lack of a salary cap and a new labor agreement being negotiated, many players that were scheduled to be possible free agents this season were not. This has resulted in an offseason of only a couple of brand names switching teams (Julius Peppers to the Bears and Aaron Kampman to Jaguars).
The McNabb sweepstakes however have recreated the energy of the offseason, where even the fans act as general managers and give their two cents on whom and what needs to be improved.
The lists of teams that have been rumored to be interested in McNabb is as long as my home to-do list (which can take me months to complete).
Let's list them here: 49ers, Bills, Vikings, Raiders, Rams, Cardinals, Seahawks, and Redskins.
Now most of those teams for one reason or another do not seem to be very suitable destinations, or do not seem as though they would be willing to meet the asking price (top 42 pick).
Assuming Donovan McNabb will, in fact, be moved, let's remove some of these teams so we have a clearer understanding of the two teams that may actually make sense as a landing spot for the prized quarterback.
The Bills and Rams are in rebuilding mode this offseason, not an ideal situation for a veteran quarterback like Donovan McNabb to want to sign an extension.
It will be a few years, at least, before these teams begin to raise their competition level back up to playoff aspirations, and that's only if they make all the right decision from here on out.
However, McNabb would not be even slightly interested in staying with the team through the process.
I highly doubt after a year of getting knocked around on a bad team, that a guy like McNabb will be encouraged to sign a long-term contract.
Cross the Bills and Rams off the list.
The 49ers, Seahawks, and Vikings all have quarterbacks that the respective organizations have shown confidence in or have already deemed as their next year starters.
Mike Singletary has said that they want to try Alex Smith again next year after he showed improvement in the system last season.
Pete Carroll and the Seahawks organization have expressed their belief in Charlie Whitehurst as a franchise caliber quarterback. As well as the fact that Matt Hasselback is also still on the team.
Vikings have to internally deal with the Brett Favre saga, which thankfully has not nearly materialized into the story it was this time last season.
Though Favre has not yet made his decision official, the fact that he was involved in volleying for LaDaninan Tomlinson shows his interest in the personnel that could be surrounding him next season.
Ignore the reports of Donovan McNabb wishing for him to be traded to the Vikings. The team was a bad overtime play away from going to the Super Bowl last season with Brett Favre.
If he decides to come back they will try to ride him again.
Cross the 49ers, Seahawks, and Vikings off the list.
The Redskins are very simple as to why they are not the landing place for the star quarterback either: The Eagles will not trade in division!
The speculation the Eagles would not trade within the conference is debatable and tolerable for the organization to do so. Even if he does change uniform within the NFC, it still would not translate into them having to necessarily play against him.
However, if traded within the same division they will automatically have to face him twice during the season. The organization cannot chance being smoked by their former franchise quarterback, or worse lose the division to him.
Cross the Redskins off the list.
This leaves us with the Cardinals and Raiders.
Both places already have ties with McNabb. Arizona is a frequent getaway spot for McNabb over the years and he has enjoyed his visits there.
Those would not be his only weapons either. Arizona has young running back talents in Tim Hightower and Chris Wells, which could provide McNabb with a running game that he has lacked in Philly for most of his career.
Ken Whisenhunt is a very good offensive minded head coach whose type of system may benefit Donovan McNabb's talents more so than the Andy Reid west coast offense.
Whisenhunt runs a more play action, down the field style of offense. The down the field passes are what McNabb excels at, rather than the slants or dump off passes where he has to lead the receiver.
Donovan's deep balls to Desean Jackson were on target nearly every time, because he can put the ball on the receiver rather than having to lead them.
The Cardinals have a need as well for a quarterback after the retirement of Kurt Warner. They have not shown full support in their former first-round pick Matt Leinart, and have signed Derek Anderson to backup type money.
The Cardinals do have a late first round draft pick, but I believe whoever just waits until draft day to make an offer may be able to land McNabb for a third rounder.
The Cardinals stay on the list.
Oakland's new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is cousins with the quarterback. This could be an important family tie especially since they will be working together most of the time.
Donovan would probably be the only exception Big Al would accept as a starting quarterback option over his coveted Jamarcus Russell. This could bring peace to what seems to be an ongoing debate between Al Davis and Tom Cable over who should be the starter.
It may even allow Jamarcus Russell to possibly learn a thing or two behind Donovan. Vince Young was sat back down so he could increase his learning curb without being thrown into the fire, and now he is without a doubt the franchise quarterback.
Again, as I pointed out with the Cardinals, the down field passing game of the Raiders may benefit McNabb.
The Raiders may be considered, however, to be in a similar situation as the Rams and Bills, with a rebuilding type year. The Raiders are a bit closer to possible playoff aspirations with more talent on both sides of the ball than those other two teams.
The Raiders would have a more difficult time than the Cardinals would in signing him to an extension. They would have to definitely show that they are on the rise and quickly.
If the Raiders feel they may not be able to interest McNabb in staying after next year there is no reason for the Raiders to make any kind of trade for the star QB.
The Raiders stay on the list.
So now we know what two teams we can take more seriously when their names pop up for Donovan McNabb's services.
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