Bradford Blocker: Was Donovan McNabb to the 'Skins Really An Act Of Subterfuge?

Lou DiPietroAnalyst IApril 8, 2010

ASHURN, VA - APRIL 6:  Mike Shanahan, head coach of the Washington Redskins presents Donovan McNabb with his new jersey during a press conference on April 6, 2010 at Redskin Park in Ashburn, Virginia.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

If you’ve been scouring the sports newswires today, you’ve undoubtedly by now seen the latest gem regarding the Donovan McNabb trade.

According to ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports (among other sources), ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter is allegedly floating a theory that can be at best described at highly conspiratorial and at worst considered absolutely insane.

Schefter is saying that he has talked with multiple NFL executives who firmly believe that the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Redskins in an attempt to block the Redskins from taking Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.

Apparently, the execs he talked to said that the Eagles are high on Bradford and don't want to have to play against him twice a year for the next decade, so they traded McNabb to Washington for a second-round pick—a move that would not only make Washington less likely to draft a quarterback, but also take away a key piece of ammunition they would need if they wanted to move up to get Bradford.

Now, I know that some of us here on Bleacher Report often get a bad rap for being “amateur” journalists with secondarily-credited sources…but this right here is proof that even the “experts” are crazy at times.

I mean, really?

I suppose it’s a theory sort of along the lines of the “soldier of fortune” suggestion I made in an article earlier this week, but you know what they say: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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First of all, while they’re both good at what they do, I don’t think anyone believes that Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb are that smart/diabolical/insert adjective here.  That’s some straight up CIA-level covert ops stuff right there, and quite frankly, to even allege or speculate on subterfuge like this insults the integrity of Reid, McNabb, and anyone else who would have been “in on it.”

Secondly, I have a problem with the whole “move up and take Bradford” idea.

Does anyone with half a brain, let alone any NFL insider of executive, think this would have a snowball’s chance in hell of happening?

I mean, yes, the St. Louis Rams have a lot of needs, but there are only three players they’re even realistically looking at: Bradford and defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy.

One of them will be a Ram, and the other two will likely be a Lion and a Buccaneer in some order unless Detroit really, really, really likes Russell Okung.

So even if it meant gaining additional picks or useful parts, why would St. Louis even consider dropping back three slots and taking the very real chance of not getting any of the guys they covet?

Hell, for that matter, if there was any truth at all surrounding the recent McNabb to St. Louis rumors, why would they draft anyone other than Bradford—or give someone else a better chance to do it?

And finally, I know Bradford is good, but would this really be the Redskins’ last chance to draft a franchise quarterback? Win, lose, or draw, they could still draft Jimmy Clausen, wait until later rounds to take a bit more of a project…or simply wait until later years to get a guy like Jake Locker, Matt Barkley, or any one of the other guys who will be a “franchise quarterback” candidate in the next couple years.

Sure, Peyton Manning was drafted No. 1 overall, but so was JaMarcus Russell. And, of course, you know that Tom Brady was No. 199 overall, Tony Romo was a fourth-rounder and even Jesus H. Favre wasn’t a first-round pick.

The point there, naturally, is that doing this to block a potential franchise situation would be, in theory, akin to putting a Band-Aid on a hatchet wound; it works for now and might hold off for a while, but eventually it’s going to go bust.

In my view, this is foolish on three levels: On the unnamed executives for speculating about it, on alleged expert Schefter for floating the theory publicly, and on anyone else who blindly reports it because they believe the veracity of the first two words of this sentence.

But hey, sensationalism sells and drama equals ratings, right?

Just ask ESPN—you know, the network that cut away from “live” programming (read: hour five of SportsCenter, which is in essence the same 60-minute show repeated six times) today to show the world what they really wanted to see: Tiger Woods teeing off at Augusta.

Maybe this shouldn’t be such a surprise after all.

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