It looks like Andy Reid has lost his battle to keep Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia for 2010 and beyond. This is evident because Philadelphia has dropped their asking price for McNabb from a first round pick and a player (which they allegedly told Seattle) to only a second rounder.
The big problem right now is that McNabb is refusing to agree to a contract extension after he is traded unless he goes to a contender. No one is going to give up a second rounder for one year with a player.
McNabb wants to go to Arizona, where he has an offseason home and will certainly live once he retires from football. And oh yeah they have a good line, defense, and a great group of WRs to throw to, headlined by Larry Fitzgerald.
The problem is that Arizona wants to find out about Matt Leinart, in whom they've invested a ton of money and the No. 10 overall pick, eventually.
That isn't going to happen. McNabb isn't going to finish out his career being battered by a bad offensive line with no one to throw the football to. He won't sign a long term deal with the Rams, so the Rams won't give up what basically amounts to a No. 1 pick in this very deep draft to get a guy for one year on a horrible team.
There are other options, including Buffalo, who would give the Eagles a high second round pick, and would get to respectability much faster than the Rams will. (The Bills might even bring Terrell Owens back to play with McNabb, and note that Owens and McNabb have patched things up.)
Buffalo has a bad OL, but a couple of decent RBs (Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, both of whom can also catch), but again a bad OL and not much at WR or TE.
But the best option for the McNabb and the Eagles: the Raiders!
Oakland is actually a QB away from being a playoff team and possibly winning the AFC West. Their OL is still bad, but can be improved in the draft (more on that later).
Also, their WRs aren't the best, but Louis Murphy is a future star, and Zach Miller is a Pro Bowl caliber TE. Chaz Schilens and Johnnie Lee Higgins have a shot at being decent. Again, this is a position that can be strengthened in the draft.
But what the Raiders have is RBs Darren McFadden and Michael Bush in the backfield, both of whom are very good receivers also. What is more, the Raiders have the makings of an outstanding defense.
McNabb doesn't have the scrambling ability that he once did, but he can move around well enough—and get rid of the ball quick enough—to survive Oakland's bad line, and he has developed into a Pro Bowl caliber pure passer. He can make Oakland a playoff contender now, and a Super Bowl contender in a year or two.
And Oakland would give McNabb that year or two. They would give him four or five, as a matter of fact. Oakland is probably the place where McNabb could get the longest contract extension for the most money.
Also, in Oakland, McNabb would go from his love-hate relationship with Philadelphia (mostly hate!) to the embraced face of the franchise just for taking them to the playoffs, and a community leader (a role that McNabb has long cherished) in a place that badly needs one.
McNabb would go from being ridiculously scapegoated for never winning a Super Bowl in Philadelphia (sure, ignore the fact that Philadelphia's longtime lack of a healthy, every down tailback AND good wide receivers...let's see Peyton Manning win anything with Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, Hank Baskett, and overrated always hurt glorified third down back Brian Westbrook, whose career is finally mercifully over) to being a hero for Oakland no longer being a laughing stock.
And in addition to being actually embraced by his local community for the first time in his long career, McNabb would get to do another thing that he likes: Be a role model and mentor to young QBs.
McNabb could help keep JaMarcus Russell from being one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history.
Russell, who is bigger than most of the DEs trying to chase him at 271 lbs. (and that is actually after having lost weight!) is going down the path of a lot of talented knuckleheads before him in refusing to listen to good advice from coaches and players, and being convinced that he isn't getting a fair shot and the world is out to get him (and he is surrounded by hangers-on who tell him what he wants to hear).
But Russell will likely listen to McNabb, who will demand respect as A) the guy who took Russell's starting job for a reason, and B) a guy who helped pave the way for Russell by succeeding in the NFL in the first place.
There are some particulars though: McNabb shouldn't come to the Raiders unless they promise to change their Mickey Mouse operation. Not saying that McNabb should be able to force the Raiders to make a coaching change or hire a GM or anything like that. We can't have players running the NFL.
However, it is perfectly appropriate for McNabb to secure promises that the Raiders will A) improve their offensive line, and B) improve their WRs before he agrees to either come or sign a long term deal.
The Raiders can do both in the draft with their first and second round picks. But how—if they trade their second rounder to Philadelphia?
But this is the beauty of the thing...they really don't have to. Oakland, who really doesn't want to pay another top 10 signing bonus to begin with, should get McNabb in return for swapping first round draft picks! Philadelphia would get the No. 8 pick overall; Oakland, meanwhile, would get the No. 24 pick overall.
At No. 24, Oakland can get an excellent OL, possibly even a LT (McNabb doesn't need a franchise LT, just someone better than the swinging gate Khalif Barnes).
And by keeping their second round draft pick, Oakland can get WR Damian Williams from USC, whose background in their West Coast offense would allow him to immediately compete for playing time with Darrius Heyward-Bey (to employ understatement sarcasm).
And yes, it is possible that by playing with McNabb, Heyward-Bey could develop into a vertical threat in that offense.
Unlike Russell, for whom every dropped pass is a disaster because Russell will only throw six or seven good passes in an entire game, Heyward-Bey can drop a McNabb deep ball on 2nd-and-seven, McNabb can hit Zach Miller or Darren McFadden out of the backfield to move the sticks and get a fresh set of downs, and then he can try Heyward-Bey deep again.
It's what he had to do all those years with Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, James Thrash, Charles Johnson, etc. in Philadelphia, so McNabb can make it work with Heyward-Bey.
The best part is that having McNabb stretching the field and taking all those defenders off the line of scrimmage would be that it finally get Darren McFadden going.
McFadden is every bit as good as Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, but the Titans have a much better offensive line, plus Vince Young (who despite all of his critics has a 26-13 record as a starter) gives defenses a lot more to think about than JaMarcus Russell does. So, getting McFadden going by picking up McNabb is like getting another top 10 NFL draft pick.
Oakland needs to realize that McNabb is a lot better than anything they would get with that No. 8 pick, especially since with Russell around they can't take a QB this year and possibly next year.
Oakland also needs to realize that bringing McNabb on board may be the only way to rescue their investment in Russell. More important, McNabb would allow the Raiders to compete for the next three to five years and would change the image of the franchise.
The Eagles need to realize that swapping picks in the first round is a lot more valuable than getting an extra player in the second round. With that No. 8 overall pick, the Eagles could really help a defense that let them down late last season.
They could get Eric Berry (a shorter Brian Dawkins!), Joe Haden, Rolando McClain (to finally replace Jeremiah Trotter), or Jason Pierre-Paul. If Kevin Kolb is as good as the Eagles' front office claim, then the No. 8 overall pick should make them Super Bowl contenders.
Finally, McNabb needs to suck it up, man up, and get this deal done with Oakland. The Eagles' front office doesn't want him anymore, most of the fan base never wanted him in the first place, and the playoff contenders don't want him.
So, why not go to Oakland and prove everybody wrong?
He can start with Denver, who could have him right now for a second round pick (and Brandon Marshall would stick around to play with McNabb) but chooses instead to go with Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. And yes, Oakland DOES play Denver twice a year.
So McNabb, pull the trigger. Tell the Eagles that Oakland is where you want to go. Oakland gives you the best situation to end your career positively. The Philadelphia situation is beyond repair, and it looks like no one else who has a shot at doing anything anytime soon.
Oakland, step up. Swap your first round picks with the Eagles and allow McNabb to defer signing his long term deal until you make SENSIBLE moves to improve the OL and WRs in the draft (or even free agency if there are any guys out there).
You blew your shot to leave behind the bumbling Eagles front office and the ungrateful fans to go to Chicago back when they had a good OL, a great defense, a good running game and decent WRs, a choice that likely cost you and your hometown team two Super Bowls.
Don't blow your last shot to escape to a good situation now. And PLEASE don't think that you can just waltz into Minnesota, Arizona, San Fran, etc. as a free agent next year, when you will be a year older and able to command far less on a long term deal.
And Philadelphia: Get it done. It is better to get rid of a guy a year too early than a year too late. This is the best deal that you are going to get.
And by dangling McNabb in this fashion, openly stating your desire to trade him to the RAMS, you have ruined any shot at doing anything this year.
McNabb knows that this is his last shot in Philadelphia and will act accordingly. So will the beat writers and fans. The instant that McNabb has a bad game or suffers a minor injury, or the team suffers a two game losing streak, the "move on with the future!" people will be out in force.
Even the few fans and writers that have generally supported McNabb will be forced to say that it is time to cut the cord. You should either trade McNabb for maximum benefit now or be forced to dump him for whatever you can get for him (likely to the Raiders!) right before the trade deadline.
There are so many reasons for this to happen and not a single good one why it shouldn't. Which, knowing the NFL, is the main reason why it won't!