Now that Donovan McNabb is an ex-Eagle (still sounds weird) we can all start pontificating about whether or not the decision to trade a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback to a division rival should be classified as gutsy, or insane. Time will tell, but for now it’s all about the name-calling and hand-wringing.
What we’ve seen since the 2009 season ended is nothing short of amazing. Be it old, broken down, underachieving, disgruntled or disappointing, no one has been safe since Howie Roseman took the General Manager reigns. Whether you call his strategy aggressively calculated or monumentally stupid, you have to admit, he has not stuck to the status quo.
The days of doing the same thing over and over appear to be, over. Brian Dawkins – gone. Brian Westbrook – gone. Shawn Andrews – gone. Sheldon Brown – gone. Donovan McNabb – gone. Only two members of the 2004 Super Bowl team remain: David Akers and Quintin Mikell.
If the Eagles aren’t rebuilding, or been rebuilt, then I don’t quite understand the definition of the word. Whatever the case, they have engineered a near complete roster makeover without suffering a serious letdown… yet. By jettisoning a franchise quarterback not ready to hang ’em up and handing the keys to a guy with two career starts, you either have the utmost confidence in the kid, or you’re willing to take a step back before leaping forward.
If the brain trust truly believed Donovan couldn’t get the job done in 2010, then they made the right move. If they evaluated the entire roster and determined Donovan’s presence wouldn’t be the difference in winning or losing a championship in 2010, then they made the right move. If after eleven attempts at achieving glory they felt one more wasn’t warranted, then they made the right move.
However, if this was strictly a financial decision and another excuse to dump a veteran salary in a capless year, then fans and media alike should be in an uproar. If trading inside the division wasn’t the best possible deal on the table, then not only is it a slap in the face to McNabb, but it’s nothing more than an unwise conclusion reached by an in-over-their-heads management team.
Perhaps something else is in the works. Armed with eleven picks in a talented draft, the Eagles have the flexibility to move up or down the draft board, and as such have aligned themselves to pull off a major coup should they so choose. A move into the top 10 or even the top 5 is more than doable. They possess five of the first 87 picks and seven of the first 121. That is if they stand pat, which seems highly unlikely.
Who, if anyone, might be on their radar? Could it be Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh? What about safety Eric Berry or cornerback Joe Haden? Maybe it’s Derrick Morgan. Or maybe it’s no one in particular. It could be that they are loading up to acquire as much new blood as they can afford. At last count twelve players have been kicked loose, while only five have been added. Spots are open and spots need to be filled.
The possibilities are vast and complex. Welcome to the new era of Philadelphia Eagles football. There are no more blame McNabb games to be played. Young Kevin Kolb now steps into the red hot spotlight that shines oh so blinding bright in the City of Brotherly Love. That sound you hear is him swallowing a giant lump in his throat.
To judge Reid and Co. at this juncture would be pointless. They will answer to their deeds in due time. While I will miss the familiar faces I’ve grown accustomed to watching on Sunday afternoons, I am just as eager to see what a younger, hopefully brasher bunch is capable of doing. Needless to say, August can’t get here fast enough.