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Redskins Acquire Donovan McNabb From The Eagles

Posted by Matt Terl on April 4, 2010 – 10:45 pm

The Redskins acquired quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Eagles today, giving up their second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and a draft choice in the 2011 Draft.

McNabb’s has a laundry list of statistical accomplishments over his eleven year NFL career that argue compellingly in favor of this trade. Here’s a quick sampling of them. Since he entered the league in the 1999 season, McNabb ranks:

  • 3rd in the NFL in completions (2,801)
  • 3rd in the NFL in yards (32,873)
  • 4th in the NFL in passing touchdowns (216)
  • 14th in passer rating (86.5)
  • 3rd in pass plays of 25+ yards (273)

He also has the third best interception percentage in the NFL over that span, with 2.1%, and the two guys ahead of him played in roughly half as many games.

So, yeah, he’s a pretty good QB.

The main knock against the trade that I’ve been hearing — aside from the disappointed Colt Brennan fans, who have their own specific complaint — is that McNabb is, apparently, old. For some reason, this knock — this search for ONE specific thing to knock down an otherwise impressive candidate — kept making me think of people looking to complain about the Mike Shanahan hire. What those people came up with at the time was “he never won a Super Bowl without John Elway.”

So that collided with the McNabb stuff and prompted me to compare Elway’s first 11 seasons with McNabb’s, because … well, you have to assume that Coach Shanahan is hoping to find his next Elway, right? Who wouldn’t be?

And here’s how the two stack up.


The two are remarkably similar quarterbacks in many ways, both strong-armed, both mobile earlier in their careers but avoiding it lately, both chasing the elusive Super Bowl win. But, statistically, McNabb is the better QB over those eleven years in almost every major category: completion percentage, TDs, rating — and he has 33 more touchdowns with 67 fewer interceptions.

And here’s the biggest difference: Shanahan wouldn’t get his hands on Elway until two years later in Elway’s career. Elway was 35 when Shanahan took over the Broncos, and didn’t finally win his Super Bowl until two years later.

I’m not the only one who made the comparison, either. Brian Mitchell — a great with the Redskins AND the Eagles — had this to say to Comcast SportsNet after the trade (transcription via the DC Sports Bog):

“He’s a proven winner,” Mitchell said. “Looking at Mike Shanahan, he knows the success he had with John Elway in John’s later years. His last two years, he wins two Super Bowls, and I think he’s looking at that same possibility with Donovan McNabb.

McNabb doesn’t have the what-will-he-be-sizzle of a rookie draft choice, but he’s a proven winner. All you can hope for from a trade like this is that a guy continues to perform up to what he’s done before. And I would give up a second-rounder and a future pick for McNabb’s production in a heartbeat.

Now I just have to remember not to boo every time I see him and this should all be golden.

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