It is very rare for a team to trade inside the division. Even more rare is a team trading the face of their franchise for the last 12 years. That is what the Eagles have done by sending Donovan McNabb to the Redskins for their second round pick this year and either a third or fourth rounder next year.
Yes, the Redskins only compiled four wins last year, but this team will be completely different under their new coach. Mike Shanahan is an expert at using a zone blocking scheme to make his running game more effective.
Between Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, the Redskins should be able to produce an effective running game. They also have some other weapons on the offensive side of the ball.
McNabb is going to a team that has two good TEs (Chris Cooley and Fred Davis), Santana Moss and a couple of young receivers in Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. Kelly and Thomas are likely to be the beneficiaries of a QB who had effective seasons with Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, and Greg Lewis.
The Redskins defense is not void of talent either. Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo, Albert Haynesworth, and LaRon Landry give them a good base of talent to build around.
I point out all of the talent already on the Redskins to show that with a couple of pieces added to the squad, they could make the playoffs next year. Shanahan has had success with athletic QBs that he can move out of the pocket, and McNabb fits that profile.
If there has been one black mark on Shanahan's resume it is that his scouting of defensive players has been questioned. This is not a problem now, because he is working with Bruce Allen.
By sending Donovan McNabb to the Redskins, the Eagles took them from being a few years away from contending to being an immediate contender; An odd thing to do for a team in your own division.