This really seems to be the heart of the issue doesn't it?
If the Washington Redskins decide to put their faith in one of the eligible signal callers in this year's draft it will effectively end the Donovan McNabb experiment and usher in yet a new era of football in DC.
I think the question that needs to be raised is: Should they do it?
It's always difficult to write objectively about your favorite team, but I think it's safe to say McNabb should not be the Redskins quarterback in 2011 (if there is a 2011). This has nothing to do with his talent or ability, which I found to be more than adequate last season, but everything to do with his contract.
The contract the Redskins signed McNabb to last season was absurd to say the least, and if it weren't for the ability to get out of it at virtually anytime without much financial penalty, it would rank among the worst handed out by Daniel Snyder—and that's saying something.
Whether another team like the Vikings winds up trading for McNabb or the Redskins just cut him to save the cap room, I really don't see McNabb under center the next time the Redskins take the field.
Next we come to Rex Grossman, who, interestingly, didn't look horrible down the stretch last year. Kyle Shanahan obviously saw something in Grossman during his time in Houston that made Washington sign him and he put up pretty good numbers when he was given the opportunity.
However, I don't think any of us want to waste our time thinking about Grossman as the long-term answer at quarterback, so let's just move on.
With the 10th pick in the draft, the Redskins will have a chance to grab either the second or third quarterback off the board; namely Blaine Gabbert or Jake Locker.
It seems that with the quarterback position at such a premium these days, it's a pretty safe bet that Locker is the only one sitting there at 10 with Gabbert and Cam Newton being snatched up somewhere along the line.
As I've written, I'm a fan of Jake Locker and would be able to talk myself into him being the Redskins franchise's QB solution about 0.0003 seconds after I heard his name called. That being said, pick 10 is probably a little high for a guy with as many question marks as Locker, especially when the 'Skins have so many other holes to fill.
Assuming the Redskins go a different way in round one by taking Julio Jones, Da'Quan Bowers, etc., are any of the second-round options actually capable of being franchise quarterbacks?
In my mind, yes they are. I really like Christian Ponder out of Florida State, as well as TCU's Andy Dalton. Interestingly, another sleeper could be Arkansas' Ryan Mallett who has seen his stock plummet from midseason to now.
Mallett has all the physical tools you could ask for in a franchise QB and, with the right grooming, could be a very good NFL quarterback.
Grabbing an impact player at a different position in round one, then waiting to take one of these guys in round two would be more than an acceptable strategy to me.
There is much less financial risk involved with drafting a quarterback in the second round (at least under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement) and, with the potential of there not even being a season next year, much less pressure on the young player.
We've seen the expectations of highly drafted quarterbacks crush players like Heath Shuler and Patrick Ramsey in the Nation's Capital and say what you will, but those expectations are significantly lower for non-first-round picks.
In general, I think it is imperative that the Redskins draft a young quarterback in one of the first two rounds so the franchise can move forward. Grossman can be the stop gap and maybe even win a few games, but it's about time the Redskins had their future on the roster.
In a draft as deep in talent as this one, it's a good year to need a QB.
Now I just hope they take one.