It wasn’t because McNabb got traded, but of what team in which he was traded.
The NFC East is consistently among the top divisions in the National Football League. The Eagles, Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants usually have solid coaching and personnel year after year. Divisional games represent slugfests more than plain old football games.
Saying that, why on earth would the Eagles send their (now former) franchise quarterback to a division rival?
Before this deal ever went down, the rumor mill was flooding with basically only two teams in which Philadelphia was supposedly discussing trade talks with: The Oakland Raiders and the Buffalo Bills. McNabb reportedly said he wanted no part of being a starting quarterback for those two franchises which have fallen on hard times the past few years.
You had to believe Eagles management was dealing with McNabb as if he was a ticking time bomb. After all, McNabb has been chastised year after year for not winning the “big game,” and he was booed when he first stepped on the stage in New York when he was drafted out of Syracuse.
This deal was inevitable in every sense, but the shake-up it has instantly caused within the division makes many wonder why the Redskins were McNabb’s ultimate destination.
Did Philadelphia not want to deal with trade talks anymore? Were the Redskins the best suitors in terms of offering the best draft picks in exchange for McNabb? Do the Eagles have that much confidence in young Kevin Kolb and the resurgent Michael Vick?
Think about the trade in this manner: The Eagles play the ‘Skins twice a season in a black-and-blue division. They also have to face the Cowboys and Giants twice as well. So, hypothetically, if Washington beats Philadelphia both times they meet, then the Eagles will be that much farther away from winning the division and, thus, getting into the playoffs.
It will be a question the Eagles will have to answer all season long. Sending a long-tenured quarterback to a division foe may end up biting them from behind.
Looking at the bright side for Philadelphia, one long era is finally over and now a new one can begin.