When the news broke that the Eagles had traded Donovan McNabb to the Redskins Sunday night, I opened up a live chat, which lasted 2.5 hours.
Nearly 4,000 of you stopped by to vent, to ask questions, to react.
And there were some themes that kept coming up over and over again.
Now that I've had a chance to sleep on it (for a few hours, at least), here's a little Q&A and reaction to how things went down.
Why would the Eagles trade him to a division rival?
This is the most common (and legitimate) question to come up. Pretty much everyone - fans, media, McNabb's teammates - had the same reaction when they heard the news: The Redskins? Really? That McNabb was dealt was no shocker. That he was dealt to a team the Eagles will face twice a year and a team whose success is directly related to the Eagles' success (and failures) has left people scratching their heads.
So why would they pull the trigger on a deal to the Redskins?
Theory 1: It was the best deal. If this is the case, fine. No complaints. If the Redskins made the best offer for McNabb, and the Eagles were single-minded in their focus to get the best compensation for him, then I think you can reasonably make the case for trading him to Washington.
Theory 2: Andy Reid wanted to do McNabb right. The Eagles' coach said as much during his press conference Sunday night. I just went back and read Reid's chat transcript. He mentioned 11 times that the Eagles wanted to do McNabb right or find a place that was good for Donovan. As I mentioned Sunday, this type of thinking would go against everything we have learned and come to expect from the "all-business" approach of the current Eagles' regime. But then again, McNabb is different than every other player during the Reid era.
Theory 3: McNabb pressured the Eagles into a trade with the Redskins. This is the theory that Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports has mentioned. Cole writes that McNabb would have thrown what would amount to a grown-up version of a tantrum had the Birds tried to deal him to Oakland or Buffalo. Reid refuted such a theory Sunday night, saying McNabb would have played anywhere because that's the kind of professional he is. Reid did say that he sought the opinion of McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, before making a deal. But just how much of a say McNabb's camp had in the deal may never be known.
Did the Eagles get enough for McNabb?
This is the question we asked you in an online poll. 58 percent of you said no. 31 percent said yes. And 11 percent said not sure. By the way, who votes 'not sure' in a poll like this? Why even bother voting then? C'mon, people.
Anyway, the deal is for a second-rounder this year (37th overall) and either a third- or a fourth-round pick in 2011. A lot of people were asking last night what the Raiders offered. There's no way that Oakland offered their first-round pick, or the Eagles would have had to make that deal. Did the Raiders off their second-rounder? Keep in mind that Oakland's second rounder is actually worse (39th overall) than Washington's. What's unclear is what else the Raiders might have offered. A higher second pick? A player? We just don't know.
Overall, I think the Eagles got just about what I thought they'd get when Reid made it clear last week that they were listening to offers. Now, if the team had decided right after the season that it was going to deal McNabb and aggressively listened to offers from teams that have since filled their QB needs, maybe the compensation would have been greater.
Will the Eagles move up in the draft?
They now have seven picks in the first four rounds, including three of the first 55 and five of the first 87 overall picks. They absolutely could look to trade up in the first round if there is a player available who they covet. They've shown in the past that they're not afraid to make such a move. There are still plenty of holes on defense that need filling. If the Eagles target a player who they deem valuable (think CB or DE), it would not surprise me at all if they made a move. And then there's the option that I know many of you love: Trading picks for more picks next year.
By the way, SI.com's Peter King had an interesting nugget this morning on the topic of the draft:
I have heard the Eagles will now focus on [Tim] Tebow and are likely to join the parade of teams working him out and spending time with him.
Wouldn't that be something...
Is Kevin Kolb ready?
That is the question. And that is really why this deal was made. The Eagles' coaching staff thinks he is. I will say this. If ever there were a situation for a young quarterback to succeed, this is it. Think about it. In year one, he sat and watched. In year two, he continued to learn and got a taste of what playing in the league was like, most notably in the second half against Baltimore. And in year three, he got a pair of starts under his belt - one against the eventual Super Bowl champs.
The Eagles are loaded with pass-catchers at wide receiver and tight end. They've got a decent mix in the backfield. And they are young everywhere. These guys will grow together.
Will there be growing pains? Absolutely. But I expect Kolb to have success. The situation just points in that direction.
Will McNabb have success in Washington?
Many of you pointed to the fact that the Redskins have a bad offensive line, saying McNabb is doomed to fail there. I would argue the other side. McNabb's biggest strength is, and really always has been, his ability to do more with less. His ability to win with bad wide receivers. His ability to escape pressure and make moves on the run.
Is he the athlete he was 10 years ago? Of course not. But he can still fight pressure, avoid sacks, buy time and find playmakers down the field. If I'm a Redskins fan, that's what I'm most excited about today.
He's always played with some type of chip on his shoulder, and that will of course continue now. Think about it. If you're a Redskins assistant, you're definitely reminding McNabb that the Eagles thought so much of him that they had no fear in trading him to a division rival, right?
A friend of mine in D.C. says the Redskins' fan base is pretty split on the move. I told him he should be excited. The expectations are lower there, and the team hasn't had a quarterback in years. If McNabb takes them to the playoffs in the next two years, the fan base will be thrilled. It's not like here where it was Super Bowl or bust.
As my buddy C-Nast pointed out, McNabb is gone, but the debate will rage on for years. The first time McNabb puts on a Redskins uniform. The first time Washington wins back-to-back games. The first time Kolb throws a game-ending interception. We'll be talking. And you really wouldn't expect the McNabb story to end any other way.
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