Thursday, October 14, 2010, 7:33 PM
By Rich Tandler
The Redskins gave up a second-round draft pick this year and a conditional pick in 2011 for the services of Donovan McNabb. His contract expires after the season and that has many wondering about the future. Why hasn't he signed an extension? Are the Redskins driving a hard bargain? Does Donovan want to keep his options open and play in 2011 where the weather is, well, chilly? And, has his performance justified the mega-deal he is likely to be seeking? The Redskins quarterback is the subject of today's edition of the wildly popular Point-Counterpoint.
Point--What's the hurry? McNabb has said that he wants to stay and finsh his career here, and the Redskins say that they have every intention of giving him a new deal. Let it play out. There are other things for the organiazation and for McNabb to worry about now, like winning football games.
Counterpoint--It's not like these guys can't multi-task. McNabb has an agent and his involvement in the talks is minimal. Bruce Allen isn't a part of putting the game plan together. Both sides are saying all of the right things, but if they were really serious about this they would lock themselves up in a conference room at the Dulles Marriott and not come out until a deal is done. The truth is that both sides are keeping their options open. That's smart business but not great PR. That's why both sides are saying the right things, but not signing on the line.
Point--McNabb wants to make sure that he has an escape hatch. The Redskins are going along OK now, but at the same time, they aren't looking like Super Bowl contenders anytime soon. The offensive line is better than last year's edition, but it has a long way to go before it can be considered rebuilt. The Anthony Armstrong story is nice, but he is hardly a cornerstone wide receiver. By the time those areas are fixed, McNabb could be done. The man wants a Super Bowl trophy, which will just about lock up a spot in the Hall of Fame. If he can't do it here, he may go elsewhere to do it, like a certain team that is likely to have an opening at quarterback next year after (if) No. 4 retires. The Vikings have a solid offensive line, the best running back in the business, and a solid corps of receivers whether or not Randy Moss sticks around. And Brad Childress is a McNabb fave going back to when the Vikings head coach was the Eagles offensive coordinator.
Counterpoint--That Minnesota story has been floating around with zero substiantation almost since the moment that McNabb was traded to the Redskins. It's a rumor based on sheer speculation. And would the Redskins really give up a second, plus a third or fourth, if they didn't desperately want to keep McNabb and if they weren't virtually certain that they could? You know Dan Snyder. He will do whatever it takes to get a deal done.
Point--Like it would be the first time that the Redskins threw a couple of high draft picks in the trash can? Look, it's one thing to be willing to pay a player whatever he wants. The Redskins are very familiar with that modus operandi. It's quite another to pay a player fair market value, a concept that has proven to be foreign to the organization. The Tom Brady and the (upcoming) Peyton Manning deals are supposed to be the benchmarks for McNabb's contract. Excuse me? When I see a ring, or three, on Donovan's hand, or see him lead his team to a record string of 12-plus win seasons, we can then talk about that kind of cash. Until then, he should lower his expectations considerably.
Counterpoint--Donovan isn't looking for Brady or Manning money. That is just a comparison point. He is a notch or two below those two, and he will settle for pay commensurate with his performance. Again, more speculation gone crazy.
Point--McNabb has the Redskins on a roll. Nobody thought that they would go into Philly and win, and they were home underdogs against the Cowboys and Packers. There is no way they win those games last year, and the difference is McNabb. His ability and leadership have taken the Redskins from being a laughingstock to being a respected contender. He's a top-notch player worthy of a top contract.
Counterpoint--Sure, McNabb has had his moments. But as we know, the Redskins are three plays away from being 0-5, and McNabb wasn't on the field for any of those plays. The Redskins will continue to have games go down to the wire as long as McNabb continues to be so erratic with his passes. He misses almost half-a-dozen wide-open receivers a game. A 55 percent completion rate doesn't cut it for a so-called elite QB.
You can reach Rich by email atRTandlerCSN@comcast.net.Sendhimyourquestionsforourweeklymailbagfeature.
Rich Tandler has beenfollowing the Redskins since 1966. He has written three books on theteam includingGutCheck,TheGloryDaysofCoachJoeGibbsWashingtonRedskins1981-1992. Fordetails on this and on Richs other available titles, visitwww.RichTandler.com.