After I got home on Easter Sunday, I turned on ESPN to catch some of the Yankees-Red Sox opener. The BottomLine had breaking news and was giving us general facts about quarterback Donovan McNabb. I thought, "Oh, so the Eagles traded him afterall. Can't wait to see what they got." I continued to read and was floored when I saw who he was traded to... the WASHINGTON REDSKINS??! Wait a minute... did the NFL realign their divisions again and I missed it? These two franchises are bitter division rivals. Why in the world would the Eagles trade away their pro bowl caliber franchise QB and most successful player in franchise history to a team that plays them at least twice every year? Didn't the Red Sox trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees teach them anything about trading within your division, let alone trading a future hall of famer to your opponent? What did they get in return for possibly the best player in franchise history? Draft picks. Not even a first rounder either. Un-freaking-real.
Sadly this isn't the first time the Eagles and Redskins have been involved the trading of a franchise QB. Back on April 1st (I know, almost to the day too) 1964, the Eagles traded their 30 year old pro bowl QB Sonny Jurgensen to the Washington Redskins. Vince Lombardi called Jurgensen the "best I have seen." The Eagles finished over .500 just once over the next 14 seasons. Jurgensen finished his career considered as one of the finest passers of his time and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
Fast forward to today. Under McNabb the Eagles soared to new heights. They finished with 11+ wins in each of his first 5 seasons. In 2004, he lead the Eagles to a 13-3 record and into the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1980 season. He never won a Super Bowl, but he won a lot of games, went to the Pro Bowl 5 times and brought respectably to a franchise that really needed some. Now he's gone. He was given away to a division rival in exchange for some draft picks.
The Eagles do have two younger QB's waiting in the wings with Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick, but as of right now neither could hold a candle to McNabb. Hell, a couple years ago Vick was in jail. Kolb showed some potential last year, but only played in two games. He's supposed to carry the franchise now? If he falters, they'll turn to Vick. So you're going to rely on an ex-con to save your franchise? Does any of this seem dumb to anyone else? To trust your franchise in the hands of an unproven rookie or an ex-con.
Some are saying that the Eagles wanted to do the right thing with McNabb and didn't want to trade him to Raiders or the Bills where he would be miserable. They wanted to trade him to a team that wasn't a disaster. While the Redskins are not exactly the model franchise, they will now be forced to play against McNabb at least twice a year. Trading him within the division is idiocy. My favorite quote is from Andy Reid, "We thought this was the best for Donovan and the compensation was right. We surely took into consideration Donovan's feelings.'' HA HA HA HA!! You took his FEELINGS into consideration? Will he consider your feelings when he's throwing for 300+ yards and 3 TDs against your team? Will he consider your feelings when his Redskins beat your Eagles twice, preventing you from making the playoffs?
This trade won't start a dynasty in Washington, but it will move the Eagles a step closer to becoming the new Detroit Lions. Philadelphia doesn't have a lot of patience and watching their Eagles go from potential Super Bowl contenders to basement dwellers won't sit well with the Eagles faithful. There's an expression, "You don't know what you have until its gone." Well the Eagles are going to find out what they had real quick and maybe 46 years from now that will prevent them from trading another franchise pro bowl QB to the Redskins. Of course, this is the Philadelphia Eagles and there is a reason why they don't own a Super Bowl title.