As I reported earlier today, the rumors are swirling that the Philadelphia Eagles are trying for the 43rd consecutive season. . .yes, forty-third (unless it just seems like that many). . .to trade their superstar quarterback, Donovan McNabb. Depending on who you listen to, the price for McNabb's services is either a second or a third-round selection in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Eagles are posturing for a pick in the "top 42," but their position is a little bit weaker than that, as it seems that McNabb only has one year left on his contract.
(Top 42, huh? Man, maybe Andy Reid does know the answer to life, the universe, and everything.)
Now, the Vikings had their quarterback drama well in place prior to the off-season starting, as approximately five minutes after the Vikings' NFC Championship loss at New Orleans, somebody from Fox or ESPN or somewhere asked, "Hey. . .is Brett Favre coming back?" And the answer to that, as I've already mentioned, is that even though we don't know, we "know." Favre's coming back, duh.
Unless. . .
Things may have just gotten a lot more interesting in Minnesota.Yes, we don't know if a potential McNabb trade to Minnesota is imminent, or even likely at this point in time. One would think that these teams would have a long way to go in negotiations of a deal of such magnitude. After all, a team doesn't just get rid of a quarterback that's gone to six Pro Bowls and led his team to five NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl.
Well, except for. . .nah, too easy.
But in all honesty, this is a heck of a situation for the Vikings to find themselves in, and not in an imaginary schism-creating sort of way or anything like that. Brett Favre was obviously one of the three best quarterbacks in the National Football League last season, and played stellar football from start to finish in 2009. He developed a real chemistry with his receiving corps, and Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin blossomed with him under center. In 18 games in 2009, Favre turned the ball over 10 times, despite the numerous predictions (largely from the bitter, bitter fans of other NFC North teams) that he would have more interceptions than touchdowns and just generally be a flop for the Beloved Purple.
Favre does, however, turn 41 in 2010, and as optimistic a Viking fan as I am, the odds of him repeating last season's mind-bending numbers would seem to be sort of slim. I certainly think he's capable of such a thing, but the likelihood of it might be a bit on the low side. Of course, Favre spent last year proving all sorts of fools wrong, and if adding my name to that list means we get a repeat of 2009, then I'm willing to make that sacrifice.
On the other hand, Donovan McNabb would be a nifty consolation prize. His quarterback rating last year was 92.9. . .not Favre-level or anything, but still pretty darn good. McNabb also threw 22 touchdown passes to 10 interceptions in 14 games last season, and over the course of his career has averaged one interception every 47.5 passes. That's a pretty outstanding ratio. He's also 7 years Favre's junior. (He'll turn 34 during the season. . .holy crap, Donovan McNabb is two months younger than I am? Man, I shouldn't have even bothered looking that up. This could alleviate the potential problem of having to immediately grab a "quarterback of the future" in the upcoming draft. Not to say that we should ignore the position entirely, mind you, but it's possible that someone could be taken slightly later than we might have to grab a QB in our current situation.
However, for all of McNabb's talent, he's had a bit of a problem with staying on the football field. Not counting his rookie season (when he didn't begin the year as the Eagles' starter), McNabb has only played 16 games four times in the past eleven seasons, twice in the last nine, and once in the last six. And an injury to McNabb after a significant investment in him could prove to be a major catastrophe for the Vikings. Granted, he would be surrounded by a ton of offensive talent in Minnesota, but McNabb's ability to scramble and avoid pressure, while still good, isn't quite what it once was. And in the National Football League, all it takes is one solid shot and you could be out for a significant period of time.
Then there's the matter of McNabb's contract. He's almost certainly going to want an extension, and if the Vikings are playing the waiting game with Favre, that's a whole lot of money to have tied up in the quarterback position with #4 scheduled to make $13 million and Sage Rosenfels set to make $3 million or so. And Favre, according to Pro Football Talk, has said that a potential McNabb trade isn't going to get him to make up his mind any faster. (Even though we all know that he's totally coming back.)
Personally, here's my potential solution to this whole thing.
If the Eagles trade McNabb to a team that's not very good. . .say Cleveland or St. Louis or (lord help him) Oakland. The odds of him signing an extension with any of those teams is pretty limited, in my opinion. Like I said, McNabb is getting older, and he's in "win now" mode, not "let's rebuild a franchise" mode. Brett Favre, on the other hand, has one year left on his contract with the Vikings, and the odds of him being a Viking after 2010 are significantly lower than they are of him being a Viking this season.
So the Vikings could, conceivably, play this year with Favre at quarterback, let McNabb play out his contract in Philadelphia (or wherever else), and then pursue McNabb in free agency after the 2010 season.
If I'm the Vikings, and I can get some sort of indication out of Brett Favre as to what he wants to do in the relatively short-term future, I think that's the route I take.
What do you guys think? Do we give Favre all the time he needs to make a decision about coming back, or do we pull the trigger on a potential Donovan McNabb deal and move forward?