Trade Signals New Beginnings For McNabb, Kolb and Campbell

It's sadly appropriate that the Donovan McNabb trade should put an end to a history of disrespect toward two quarterbacks by both trading partners. ↵

↵In sending McNabb to the Redskins, the Eagles have mercifully curtailed the annual tradition of speculation about how and when the quarterback would be leaving Philadelphia, which oftentimes seemed all too eager for a player of his caliber. Accordingly, it puts a definitive close on the tenure of Jason Campbell in the burgundy and gold, which was marked by uncertainty, both in his supporting staff and the confidence afforded him by the front office. There was no question that the Redskins had endeavored all of last offseason to find Campbell's successor. After failing to secure one and witnessing another frustrating season, the team made clear (with their actions if not their words) that if their 2005 first-round pick did return for another season, it would not be as the starting quarterback. All the while they gave Campbell little indication as to the explicit direction of their plans. So it was all too fitting that Campbell had to find out about the trade from a member of the press. ↵

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↵What is it exactly that the Eagles see in Kevin Kolb that they're willing to forfeit one more season with the best quarterback in the history of their franchise? Mind you, that one season is a highly conservative figure. By all indications, McNabb was willing to stay on for a few more years. Yet the Eagles decided that now, while having about as talented a team as they've had under Andy Reid (at least on offense), that the franchise wants to push forward with a largely unproven and, to date, unimpressive commodity at the most important position. ↵

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↵Granted, Kolb could prove to be another Aaron Rodgers, who waited in the wings for a few seasons until Brett Favre's similarly contentious departure opened up the starting spot in Green Bay. But what has Kolb done in the opportunities provided him to suggest he'll even be a fraction of the quarterback that Rodgers has emerged as? In two starts last season, Kolb posted respectable numbers, though those were mostly inflated by a stellar performance against the lowly Chiefs at home. The remainder of his pro career has mostly been marked by an array of head-shaking interceptions. ↵

↵

↵Even if the Eagles are precipitating an era of mediocrity with Kolb at quarterback, it's difficult to proclaim the Redskins as the clear winners of this trade. McNabb has played his entire career under one coach. Meanwhile Washington is ushering in its latest desperate personnel overhaul in the hopes of returning to respectability. When last seen in the coaching ranks, Mike Shanahan was seen prematurely ditching successful veteran Jake Plummer in favor of the promising younger Jay Cutler. Now here he is in his return to coaching assuming an older passer behind a makeshift offensive live with no discernible feature back to be found. ↵

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↵The division rival aspect of the trade will be played up, and it is no doubt a surprise. But surely the Eagles were goaded into that move by being offered a more alluring set of picks than those extended by other McNabb suitors. At the same time, they must have felt, as I do, that the arrival of McNabb is D.C. does improve the Redskins, but doesn't exactly turn them into instant contenders. Still, it's difficult not to view the trade as yet another vote of no confidence in their QB, as though the Eagles are saying, "There's no way this guy can make us regret this move." ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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