It seems that everyone has an opinion about the future of Donovan McNabb with the Eagles. Should he stay or should he be sent packing? You have heard the rumors, that the Vikings and Bears are interested, and that the Eagles want at least three first round picks. The Eagles have seemingly already drafted their next quarterback, Kevin Kolb, so it's only a matter of time before he steps into the starting role. So what should the Eagles do with McNabb this offseason? Let's weigh the pros and cons of this situation.
Reasons to keep McNabb:
Reasons to keep McNabb:
*He finished the year strong. The Eagles finished the season on a 3 game winning streak, and McNabb put up pretty good numbers in those three games, throwing 5 touchdowns, 1 interception and averaging 272 yards passing. He had the team playing as good as any NFC playoff team at the end of the season.
*McNabb is healthy. He seems to have finally recovered from his ACL injury of 2006. It has often been said that it takes about two years to get back to where you were before an ACL injury, so he should be 100% at the start of next year. He started to look more mobile at the end of the 2007 season, putting up 90 rushing yards combined in the Cowboys and Saints victories.
*Kolb isn't ready. Does anyone actually think that Kevin Kolb is going to step in and be a better quarterback than McNabb in 2008 or 2009? It's going to take him a few years to get the system down and to really become an effective player. The Eagles would probably need to acquire a veteran quarterback for at least the beginning of 2008 if they move McNabb because Kolb won't be ready, and A.J. Feeley might not, and shouldn't, be on the team next year.
*Brian Westbrook isn't getting any younger. Westbrook is one of the elite playmakers in the game, and he is still in his prime, but how many more good years does Westbrook have? Running backs really start to slow down when they hit 30, and Westbrook will turn 29 at the beginning of next season. If the Eagles want to make another run at the Super Bowl during the prime years of one of the best players in their history, they need to have a quarterback in place that can keep them competitive. If McNabb leaves, then the Eagles will be in full-on rebuilding mode. They might as well move Westbrook in that case, because they won't challenge for a playoff spot for at least two years.
Reasons to dump McNabb:
*He's injury prone. A few paragraphs ago, I talked about how he was finally healthy, but McNabb is always one play away from his next injury. He missed two full games and part of another last season with ankle and thumb injuries. McNabb has only played a full 16 game season 3 times in his 9 year NFL career. The last time he played all 16 games was in 2003, although he didn't get injured in the Super Bowl season of 2004 and played in 15 games. If he gets hurt next season, which is very likely, Kevin Kolb will be forced into duty whether he is ready or not.
*He is a pain in the ass. His comments about losses not being all his fault and his cries for more playmakers on the team, while not too hard to argue with, are not the kinds of things you want a leader of your football team to be saying. McNabb definitely needs to learn to keep his mouth shut, and it is only a matter of time before he says something that gets him permanently run out of town. I think we can all agree now that the whole situation with Terrell Owens a few years back was at least partly McNabb's fault.
*His inability to lead the offense to more touchdowns last year. The Eagles offense seemed to move the ball pretty well last season, but it often sputtered when it reached the red zone. Besides the huge offensive games against the lousy defenses of the Lions and Saints, the Eagles only cracked the 20 point barrier 4 times in 14 games. They averaged 17.3 points in those 14 games. The Eagles defense has always been good, so they can still win some games when the offense isn't clicking, but something was definitely wrong in 2007. There were many instances this season where the offense would march down the field on the opening drive and get some points, but then sputter for the rest of the game. Maybe the offense needs more playmakers, as McNabb has suggested, but McNabb had one of the top playmakers in the game in Westbrook and still couldn't find the end zone more.
*His trade value may never be higher. If McNabb stays with the Eagles next year and has an average season or even gets injured again, the Eagles would have a hard time getting much for him in a trade. Right now McNabb still has a lot of value around the NFL, mostly for how strong he finished the 2007 season. If the Eagles want to maximize what they get for him, they better move him now because he isn't getting any younger.
So there you have it. Four reasons to keep him and four reasons to move on. In my opinion, the Eagles need to keep McNabb for at least one more year while Kolb develops. I think they could have one more run in them, and with the NFC being so weak, the Super Bowl is never that remote of a possibility. The Eagles would probably need to bring in another solid receiver and a pass-catching tight end, but I think they owe it to McNabb to give him one more shot to lead them. As much as the fans might be ready to move on, Kolb shouldn't be rushed into starting. If he really is the future of this team, putting him in before he is ready could do more damage than good. Let's give McNabb one more chance to improve his legacy in Philadelphia and lead the Eagles to the promised land.