The value of McNabb – It’s an interesting question.
I like McNabb a lot as a QB, I think he has had a career very similar to John Elway’s, he has been the face of the Eagles franchise and been their best offensive weapon for a decade. He has continually had mediocre talent surrounding him in skill positions with the exception of Westbrook and one year with TO, yet he has been able to keep Philly competitive year in and year out and has come very close to winning a ring many times, but always comes up short.
Now the word is Philly may be questioning if they can win with McNabb, they have a young QB in the wings in Kolb who appears to be a capable player, similar to Tommy Maddox who everyone thought looked a lot better in preseason that John Elway. The Broncos were faced with a similar question in 1992, can we win with Elway, we have Tommy Maddox, maybe we trade Elway for some players and get better. A coach named Reeves started making the calls with the Redskins and eventually Pat Bowlen had to step in and get rid of the coach and keep the player. Bowlen made the right call. The question is will Lurie of the Eagles have to make a similar call and get rid of Philadelphia’s best coach to save the franchise QB?
I don’t know if McNabb coming here solves our problems, does it make the Broncos a playoff team? Last year Philly was a playoff team but got bounced quickly by Dallas. Does adding McNabb make us a similar team? There are some pressing questions that have to be addressed, mainly the interior offensive line and defensive lines of the team. Without upgrades to both units, this team will go nowhere except to another mediocre finish. It looks like most of the free agent defensive lineman that we may have been targeting will likely be franchised or cost an arm and a leg. And there are slim pickings on the offensive side of the ball as far as free agents. We will need to address both areas in this year’s draft and hope to land some select free agents that can contribute immediately.
The problem I see with the McNabb trade, is that every person that has proposed it has us dealing a 2nd rounder and maybe a 4th or some player for McNabb. If this was somehow a possibility, I would say this deal would have been done a long time ago. But the Eagles aren’t stupid (maybe their fans are), if Jay Cutler is worth 2 first rounders, what is a player like McNabb worth? McNabb has shown he is a consistent pro-bowl QB and likely HOF, he likely has 4 to 5 good seasons left in him if he stays healthy where he can play at a championship level (see what Brett Farve and Kurt Warner did this last season), so why would Philly be willing to dump McNabb for such a cheap price. McNabb is under contract for next season and there likely will be a lockout in 2011, so not having to pay guaranteed money after next season is a huge bonus. If we trade for McNabb it will likely cost us at least a 1st rounder this year, a player or two (Elvis?), and other picks in this year’s and next year’s draft. And this year’s draft is going to be rare, there is a lot of very good talent from top to bottom and players that would have been top 20 picks last year are going to be available in the 2nd and 3rd round this year. Which will make it very hard to address the offensive and defensive lines effectively in the short term. The question is McNabb worth that amount of investment, can he elevate the team not only to a playoff team, but a team that can compete for a championship without addressing the core issues with the offensive and defensive lines?
The next question is, how does McNabb and McDaniels work together? McDaniels obviously has a very demanding style, especially on the QB position. I am sure he can yell at Tom Brady and Brady likely could care less, because he is Tom Brady and he knows he is the man in New England and he is in no jeopardy of losing his job or position on the team. Similarly, yelling at guys like Orton and Cassel is accepted, because lets face it, they are lucky to have jobs in this league and they can and will accept any abuse to keep their jobs. But a guy like McNabb is a different story, McNabb is a bonafide superstar and pro, if we make the trade for McNabb it will be to get McNabb. And what I mean is that Orton was essentially a throw in for Cutler, I don’t think we had ever targeted Orton as a QB, it was just part of the deal that made sense and gave us value. We will be trading for McNabb to be our starting QB (I think when we traded for Orton there still was the idea that Orton and Simms would compete for the starting job). I doubt McNabb wants a coach who is younger than him screaming him down like he is on the JV High School team. McNabb will be a UFA next season, and if we make the trade, we would need to sell him on the idea of being a Bronco long term. He has a house in Phoenix and I am sure the Cardinals would be an ideal spot for him to go to after next season. So are we willing to risk a fair amount of draft picks and future of the team for what could potentially be a one year deal with McNabb. Could McDaniels and McNabb become close enough for McNabb to see Denver as a place to finish his career, or would McNabb bolt to the Cardinals to be playing at home with a team that is ready made to compete for championships?
So I guess when we get worked up about getting McNabb here I wish we may be a little more clear of the potential costs and risks to the franchise. That we may be sacrificing long-term success for a gamble that McNabb can somehow transform the Broncos into a championship team. The end of the Elway story obviously was that Elway won his championships after the coaching change was made and there were improvements to team, specifically the offensive line was upgraded, we got a HOF RB, some tough WR, and made tons of upgrades on the defensive side of the ball. Bringing McNabb here does not guarantee anything other than hopefully upgraded play from the QB position, but we still need to surround him with talent. He will not be able to win a championship on his own. Can we make that trade and still fill the other holes on the team and get him to stay? So I ask you, what would you be willing to sacrifice to get McNabb, what is his value to the Broncos?