A Gutsy Move With McNabb … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

The most talked about, written about and speculated about trade in recent NFL history finally went down Sunday night. The balance of power in the AFC West was not tipped by the Eagles decision to deal quarterback Donovan McNabb.

By all media reports, the Oakland Raiders were the team that was going to add McNabb. That certainly would have changed some of the landscape for the Chiefs and others in the division. But instead, it was the Washington Redskins that paid the price the Eagles were looking for in exchange for their starting quarterback.

The Redskins gave up their second-round choice in this year’s NFL Draft and then either a third or fourth-round selection next year, depending on circumstances that were not publicly announced. Quite frankly it must go down as a pretty ballsy move by the Eagles – trading their 31-year old icon to a team in their own division. Everyone will get to see how smart they are twice a year in the NFC East, especially the always vocal Eagles fans.

With the deal, all sorts of dominoes fall around the NFL, and while they were nowhere near this entire scenario, the move has an effect on the Chiefs.

By all indications, Washington was enamored with Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford. The McNabb deal is a sign that Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen did not think that Bradford was going to be there on the fourth pick, or that they were going to be willing to put together the type of package that would entice the Rams to make a deal.

So why McNabb? Shanahan wants to win now.

He’s inherited a roster without much top talent, and working through the NFL Draft to fill all their holes wasn’t going to be enough. They’ve stayed out of throwing money at free agents, so some sort of move had to be made. McNabb has one year to go on his contract. If he performs well, the Redskins can get first crack at signing him. If he doesn’t play up to Shanahan’s standards, then he’ll be a one-year band-aid.

The trade leaves the question: where will Shanahan go with the fourth choice of the Draft? He was also eyeballing Jimmy Clausen, but that won’t go down now. Shanny is going to get something that will help McNabb. He’s going to be looking for a pass protector like Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung, or an offensive weapon that he can deploy in the offense with McNabb.

Whatever Washington does, that could seriously affect that talent pool available to the Chiefs. If they stay at the No. 5 spot in the first round, Scott Pioli and Todd Haley would likely consider Okung among others as their choice. It also means that if some team is enamored with Clausen, the Chiefs may be able to deal that fifth pick and pick up more selections.

The trade keeps McNabb out of the AFC West, and that’s helpful to the Chiefs. The Raiders are still sitting there with JaMarcus Russell, Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye as their quarterbacks. That can’t make Al Davis very happy. Whether Davis still has confidence in Russell is unknown, but the young man has given no evidence of any reason or the Oakland franchise to stake its future with him.

It’s hard to believe the deal doesn’t put last year’s Redskins starter Jason Campbell on the trade market; obviously he does not fit into Shanahan’s plans. Might he end up with the Raiders? That’s a lot of fun to think about, given the fact that both Shanahan and Allen once worked for Davis and the Raiders.

Ultimately, the biggest question in this situation is why would the Eagles want to dump McNabb?

In an Eagles PR release Sunday night, owner Jeffrey Lurie said McNabb “truly embodied all of the attributes of a great quarterback and a great person.” Team president Joe Banner said the quarterback “has an incredible work ethic and has been an integral part of our success.” Head coach Andy Reid said “Donovan McNabb represented everything a football player could be during his 11 seasons in Philadelphia.”

So why is McNabb now a member of the Redskins?

It comes down to this: the Eagles are pragmatic businessmen when it comes to building their football team. They were one of the most successful teams in the last decade, with five appearances in the NFC Championship Game and a trip to Super Bowl 39. They did this by building through the draft, and filling holes in the depth chart with a few big free agent signings or trades along the way. This trade is an obvious indication that they feel McNabb has taken the team as far as he could over 11 seasons. He will be 34 years old in late November and as mentioned, he’s in the final year of his contract.

The move is an indication Lurie and Reid did not want to pay McNabb the big dollars that it would take to sign him in 2011 and beyond. They are confident that Kevin Kolb (left), a second-round draft choice from 2007 can handle the offense. “Obviously, we have a lot of confidence in Kevin Kolb to make this decision, and he will be the starting quarterback,” Reid told the Philly media on Sunday evening.

Rather than keep McNabb for another year and possibly lose him without getting anything in return, they did the deal and got the 37th position in this year’s draft and a third or fourth-round pick next year.

This move is something that every team thinks about pulling off with their top players as they age, especially superstars like McNabb. Few are able to forget the past and only consider the future. Hank Stram could not do it with his Super Bowl Chiefs back in the early 1970s and it eventually cost him his job. Chuck Noll turned out to have a similar problem with those great Steelers teams as they aged into the early 1980s.

The Eagles have shown the guts to move forward. They did it earlier this year when they cut ties with RB Brian Westbrook. Last year, they allowed team leader and FS Brian Dawkins to leave in free agency. They’ve done it time and time again.

“The trick to it is to find that right time to do things and then go from there,” said Reid (right) when he spoke with the media at the NFL meetings about 10 days ago. “That’s the hardest part of this job. You have guys who have been with you … a Brian Westbrook, who has given everything he has to your program to make you a championship caliber football team. And then you have to tell him, ‘Listen. Time’s up here.’ It’s not easy.

“Guys like (Jeremiah) Trotter, Tra (Thomas), (Jon) Runyan, Dawkins, Troy Vincent … those are hard, hard things to do. You feel very loyal to the player for what he’s done. They’re putting their necks on the line every day, and you have to respect that.”

The Eagles are willing to think more about the future than the past. Does that make them smarter than other teams? Not necessarily. Having the guts to pull the chain on one of your most veteran players does not mean you are always correct, whether in the evaluation of the departing player or his replacement.

A football player and his ability are a perishable commodity, and like any commodity it’s about buying low and selling high. It’s about not getting stuck with a spoiled or diminished product. The Eagles are betting that they’ve timed the situation just right.


Over the weekend, the Eagles picked up three more draft choices in their trades with Washington and Cleveland. That gives them eight of the first 137 selections, which puts them ahead of the Chiefs and Browns when it comes to well-placed picks.

The Chiefs have eight of the first 144 and the Browns have eight of the first 160 spots. Here’s how it breaks down for those three teams with the most primo picks:

BROWNS: 7, 38, 71, 85, 92, 134, 146, 160.

CHIEFS: 5, 36, 50, 68, 102, 136, 142, 144.

EAGLES: 24, 37, 55, 70, 87, 105, 121, 137.


  • BENGALS – re-signed UFA G Bobbie Williams
  • BILLS – re-signed ERFA C Christian Gaddis.
  • BROWNS – acquired CB Sheldon Brown and LB Chris Gocong from the Eagles in a trade.
  • CARDINALS – signed UFA K Jay Feely (Jets).
  • CHARGERS – RFA RB Darren Sproles signed his tender offer.
  • COWBOYS – released OT Flozell Adams and S Ken Hamlin.
  • EAGLES – acquired a second-round choice in the 2010 NFL Draft and a conditional pick in 2011 in a trade with the Redskins; acquired LB Alex Hall and fourth and fifth-round draft choices in 2010 in a trade with the Browns.
  • 49ERS – re-signed RFA LB Ahmad Brooks to a 2-year contract.
  • LIONS – signed UFA CB Dante Wesley (Panthers).
  • RAIDERS – re-signed UFA OT Langston Walker.
  • PATRIOTS – signed UFA DT Damione Lewis (Panthers).
  • REDSKINS – acquired QB Donovan McNabb in a trade with the Eagles; signed UFA RB Willie Parker (Steelers).
  • TEXANS – RFA S Bernard Pollard signed his tender offer.

27 Responses to “A Gutsy Move With McNabb … Monday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • April 5, 2010  - Mike in MO says:

    I’d rather we faced JaMarcus Russell than Donovan McNabb twice a year. Sooner or later, even stubborn Al Davis may realize he needs to cut his losses and dump Russell. I hope it’s later!

  • April 5, 2010  - The Morning Fix | Arrowhead Addict | A Kansas City Chiefs blog says:

    [...] A Gutsy Move With McNabb … Monday Cup O’Chiefs-BobGretz.com [...]

  • April 5, 2010  - Tracy says:

    Looks like the ‘Skins are more apt to draft Russell Okung which would make Eric Berry a more likely choice for KC at #5.
    But Mike Shanahan is hard to read. He did, after all, draft Maurice Clarett and, much to everybody’s surprise, Jay Cutler.
    Se we’d better wait ’til draft day.

  • April 5, 2010  - Jim Lloyd + says:

    I did not look it up , but I think the Steelers lost 5 games and they were the ones that Troy Polamalu was out , because of injury’s .
    Covering that area is the balance of where most of the wins are in todays football .
    Berry could truly be the key start of a shut down DEF.
    KC’s running game looks strong and Matt is staying out of the turn over zone , with some help in the time he needs to throw , it is starting to look better .
    The Supper Bowl is another level all together .

  • April 5, 2010  - el cid says:

    Jim, got no problem with Berry but really, he is a “Troy P.”?? Why, because you want him to be? Could we not wait until he actually plays one down on defense for the Chiefs before annointing his as some HOFer? As for the running game, we have one RB, Charles, so I guess it is strong if one RB can last 16+ games and carry the load (at least for one year?). I like Cassel but since arriving in KC, not very impressive although it has lots of factors in volved. Not sure he is going to be the “man” at QB, maybe only a caretaker until better players are in place.

  • April 5, 2010  - ThunderChief says:

    The unlikely Philly/DC trade should mean that Clausen falls to the Chiefs at #5 overall. Berry could/should be there as well. So, what to do if this is the case?

    Trade down to a QB needy team’s slot?
    Take Clausen (Not often does a team get a chance for a franchise QB this early…if, indeed, Clausen is a FQB).
    Take Berry and call it a day (for day one)?

    I think, in large part, it hinges on Charlie Weis’ sales skills.

  • April 5, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    el cid,

    I think you forgot about Thomas Jones, as one of our RB’s. Considering he was 3rd in the league in rushing last year…I’d say that gives us one the best one-two “punches” in the league. In theory, anyway.

    And Berry is generally considered to be one of the most talented players at Safety in many years, by almost every so-called expert. So, we’ll see. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Chiefs uniform. But, I’m not going to count on it…or be pissed if he’s not.

    Interesting that the Redskins signed Wille Parker. I guess they’re not convinced that LJ and Portis can carry the load.

  • April 5, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Great post Bobby

    I cant wait till the week of the twenty second. I cant wait to here you and Erique’s coverage things are as exciting as ever. Thanks a million.

  • April 5, 2010  - Jim Lloyd + says:

    NFL Total Acues ask’s , what is McNabb’s legassey in Phillie going to be ?
    One thing , — Traded with value ….
    Where was Portis from ,first , the team he started ,Denver ?
    He and Larry did well ,back when ,but , They both had blocking to open up those 4 foot holes !!
    Thats something that is’nt around much anymore with these quick-smart ( def. ) players on a lot of teams today . Running backs have to QUICK ! real QUICK !
    Does that fit LJ & Portis ?

  • April 5, 2010  - KCnDC says:

    Thunderchief is right. Mr. Weis could sell Pioli on Claussen and given Pioli’s comments about drafting safeties, I’m not convinced he would pick Berry even if he were available. I don’t think Pioli’s picks have ever been predicted by any of the pundits. There might have been one last year who saw that the Chiefs would pick up Jackson.

    Whatever he ends up doing (and I’m not convinced he can find a taker for the number 5 pick), I’m sure it’s going to shock the Chiefs Nation!

  • April 5, 2010  - Mark says:

    Berry is now ours. OR Philly’s, if they offer their 1st(#24), and both 2nds(#37, #55) for our 1st(#5). The value on that trade is fairly even. Eagles love Berry, as do we, but we need the extra picks in a deep draft.
    Draft day just became more interesting.
    Claussen isn’t part of the equation. No one likes him enough to trade up for him.

  • April 5, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Drafting Claussen would be a monumental waste of a #5 pick. No way it happens. No way.

    I do agree with you on Berry. I could see him there for us…and still there after we pick. But, I could also see Pioli taking him. Pioli’s comments about drafting a Safety to his fellow GM buddy…who in turn tells the press? I’ll take that with a HUGE grain of salt. Could possibly have even been a smokescreen.

  • April 5, 2010  - Mark says:

    It was totally planted nonsense. Pioli likely has Berry at the top of his list(If Suh is gone). he’s exactly his type of player. Talented and versatile.

  • April 5, 2010  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Well the eagles could have been wrong in deciding McNabb was done, i dont personally see Kolb throwing up 300+ yards against real defenses, last year it was against the saints and the chiefs, the saints were blowing them out and the chiefs just plain sucked.

    The eagles made a mistake like this once before, they let Reggie White go because they thought he was done, proved them wrong big time…

  • April 5, 2010  - Mark says:

    The Eagles stay consistently good by getting rid of older players before it’s too late. Occassionally, they might let one go too early, but it’s always better to do it a year too early than a year too late. I hope we model ourselves after the way they do business.

  • April 5, 2010  - RatsoReily says:

    I think it’ll be the Jet’s who want our 5 pick for Clausen .. so we drop to 9 .. where I think we can still get Bulaga. Maybe Mays is availble at 2a or look at Nate Allen or Reshad Jones as the top safeties still available in the draft.(Oddly they both played for South Florida). Both Allen and Jones have outstanding physical skills and should develop into great safeties. Heck I’d be happy if they took them both! After Bob’s article on the safeties in the NFL he’s convinced me we should take 2 this draft. Plus this trade would add another pick in this years draft .. how much win-win is that!!

    One thing I can’t figure out is why they traded McNabb to a divsion rival. The only thing I can come up with is that McNabb himself set it as a condition of the trade. Make Reid pay for trading him and have at least twice a year to rub it in his face. He had veto power on the deal so it certainly makes sense.

    With all these draft picks the Redskins should be able to upgrade their team quite a bit. The same should be said for the Chief’s and it’[s what I’m expecting from them. No more Colin Browns .. we need quality players who can come in and contribute from day one! I still think Jackson will be a plus on the defense but we need a better impact player with our first pick .. Bulaga gives us that … Berry would of too but we’ll never see him at 9 if things go the way I’m hoping they will.

  • April 5, 2010  - RatsoReily says:

    Sorry I mean the Buffalo Bills .. my bad!

  • April 5, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    All this talk of drafting Bulaga? What for? LT is not a position of need for the Chiefs. Albert is just fine. And the talk of moving him to RT? Crazy. Then, you have basically two Rookies on the line. Not to mention, picking the second-best O-lineman at #5? I just don’t see that at all.

    There are some Defensive studs that will be there with our first pick…and I sure as hell hope Pioli takes one. Address the O-line in the later rounds. And, we need to draft a Center a helluva lot more than we need to draft a LT.

  • April 5, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Mad Chief
    I love your posts brother. I think were I would like to see a left tackle is due to Albert would be a pro bowler at guard.

    You guys know how the Eagles traded McNabb. I say we trade Waters while we can still get something for him.

    Solid left tackle Bulaga has better stats than Jason Smith did last year and will be Joe Thomas like. Albert at guard and grab one more solid guy high and you have offensive protection and stability for years to come. It is way past due that the Chiefs line on offense was payed attention to.

  • April 5, 2010  - Mark says:

    Bulaga won’t be drafted by the Chiefs. Unless he drops to the 2nd round and we draft him as a G.
    The ONLY thing connecting him to the Chiefs is that Pioli is buds with Ferentz(as is Bellichick). NE has dafted ZERO players from Ferentz since Pioli was there. Bulaga doesn’t fit here, and he isn’t coming here.

  • April 5, 2010  - Jim Lloyd + says:

    I’m saying , that if they can stop that bleeding in the secondary that the team has a chance .
    Sure there NEEDS to be sacks and fumbles + added pressure on QB’s or the Chiefs are not going to win with large spreads but more is going to have to happen just to keep from faling on close games .
    The added coaching is going to help , but that is still not all that it is going to take to beat some of these Eastern teams , but it might give them the chance to win the Div. + may be even half of the rest of the other 10 games .
    That alone ( with this years schedule ) and if everyone started playing together .
    There IS a lot of talent here , I think this year is the year that they have their best chance to get back on track .

  • April 5, 2010  - el cid says:

    I agree, there is talent with the Chiefs. The amount we can agrue about. I could not be happier with your last sentence. This is the year. Not for a superbowl but for a major step into competition. We have asst. coaches with the best pedigree in the NFL. We should not be satisfied with a repeat of 09’s draft. We need starters and not just one or two. THIS IS THE YEAR. Anything else will be failure and can compare to carl’s first years without Marty.

    That said it may come together yet. How Pioli/Haley procede will be interesting and who they pick to join the Chiefs out of college. Cannot wait for the draft, whoever they pick.

  • April 5, 2010  - Tim R says:

    I believe our best hope to be able to trade down is with Detroit taking a OT because I believe Shanahan will be really pressed to take a LT to protect. He’d probably like to trade down a couple of slots, but if its Clausen somebody wants, he’ll probably fall to them. Wash. & KC aren’t players for him, so if Seattle wants him he’s there. Somebody would probably try to trade with us if they believe Seattle wants him because the price is lower to get #5 than it is #4. If its one of the DTs they want, there again neither Wash. or KC are players for them…both teams have too much money tied up in their D-line to take them.

  • April 5, 2010  - Jim Lloyd + says:

    If we get some help on the offence line , along what has already been put together , plus things got better when Todd had a tight end in the backfield (I see more & more of this on other teams later last year)
    Matt has a need for this ,and untill he starts trying to hit rec.’s in routs .
    I think he’s more afraid of turnovers and is being too carefull ! Looks to me like like he is not wanting to have a game full of inerceptions .
    There is way’s to fix this .

  • April 5, 2010  - Danny W says:

    As long as they don’t reach on some one I think that would be best. This draft is so deep the more picks they can find if a trade down is possible then even better because we have more needs at more positions than most other teams.

    If Berry is there and the Eagles want to swap and give us there newly acquired second round pick that close to round one I think you have to take it.

    If Buffalo wants to steal Jimmy Clausen from the Seahawks and give us there second round pick or even just there third and Kawika Mitchell back I think that would be ideal too.

    It could go
    So if Suh is there it may be a bidding war of several different teams want to try and grab that guy at number five. For the record even though Suh is just 6′4 300 lbs I think he would do just fine at Nose Tackle for K.C. or pick him and then trade Dorsey for a high second.

  • April 6, 2010  - el cid says:

    Dorsey is untradeable, no value. Suh is a beast but “knowledgeable” types say he cannot play in the 3-4. I would say we do not play a good 3-4 anyway, not enough of that type of players, so why not switch back to a 4-3?? Opens up a lot of possibilities.

  • April 6, 2010  - Danny W says:

    I agree el cid I think Crennel is going to keep there though

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