Wednesday, February 9, 2011 7:00 AM
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By Rich Tandler
Barring a labor negotiating disaster that keeps the NFL from having any sort of trading or free agency period this year, quarterback Donovan McNabb will be a very expensive one-year rental for the Washington Redskins. The price will end up being a 2010 second-round pick and a 2011 fourth-rounder for 13 games and 14 touchdown passes. McNabb, 34, is not done with football, however. He will play somewhere in 2011. Before we get into some possible destinations for McNabb next season, lets eliminate one that many people talk about as his new playing address all the time, the Arizona Cardinals. There are logical reasons to speculate about McNabb to the Cardinals. He makes his offseason home in the Phoenix area and, more importantly, the Cards are in desperate need of competent quarterback play. The quartet of Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall and Richard Bartel combined to complete 50.8 percent of their passes and throw for 10 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. These quarterbacks had one of the games premiere receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, who was a little dinged up but still played in 16 games, as a target. McNabb had an off year in 2010 but he still far surpassed those numbers. So youd have to think that Cardinals would at least want to kick the tires on McNabb, right? Not according to longtime Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. He said in a blog post in December, after Mike Shanahan benched McNabb for the rest of the year (emphasis added): The only problem with the story is there was never a story. Over the last two years, I've asked Cardinals officials numerous times about alleged interest in McNabb. Each time, they have dismissed it. So all of the speculation about McNabb is premature at best. McNabb still belongs to the Redskins, although being benched for Rex Grossman signals that his job status will soon change. Do the Cardinals pursue him? I would be surprised. McNabb has never played in this offensive system. There are allegations that he's not the hardest working guy in the business. He has no ties to this coaching staff, which doesn't seem to hold him in as high a regard as some fans. Maybe the Cardinals will show interest this time. They will look to bring in a veteran quarterback next season, and they will be tempted to draft one with their first selection. Maybe McNabb would be a nice bridge to the future. But again, I doubt it happens. There are a couple of other quarterback-needy teams that we can rule out. While the San Francisco 49ers may be moving on from Alex Smith, new coach Jim Harbaugh is armed with a brand new five-year, 25 million contract. He is likely to find a young quarterback to groom and he is unlikely to be interested in McNabb. The Seattle Seahawks may or may not have longtime quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, a free agent, returning in 2011. That has led some to think that McNabb could be headed there while the Seahawks try to figure out what they have in Charlie Whitehurst, who has played in eight games since coming into the NFL in 2006. But, like Harbaugh, head coach Pete Carroll has a long-term contract and if Hasselbeck isnt back he still has the job security to be able to either give Whitehurst time to grow or to find and develop a young QB. That leaves four teams that seem to be a good fit for McNabb. Miami DolphinsCoach Tony Sparano managed to survive with his job but he will not be able to go 7-9 overall and 1-7 at home again and expect to have his coaching talents on display near South Beach in 2012. General Manager Jeff Ireland may not survive another subpar year, either. Quarterback Chad Henne was mediocre at best in 2010, throwing 15 touchdowns and 19 interceptions and posting a 75.4 quarterback rating. Sparano and Ireland could look at McNabb as just the spark the team needs. Minnesota VikingsWhen Brad Childress, the Eagles offensive coordinator for much of the time that McNabb was in Philly, was in Minnesota, the Vikings were considered to be a prime destination for McNabb until Childress was fired at midseason. Even with Leslie Frazier in charge, the team still needs a quarterback and McNabb could be a good fit. They still have a decent offensive line and offensive weapons such as running back Adrian Peterson and wide receiver Percy Harvin. They also need to convince the lawmakers in Minnesota to build them a new stadium and falling into the abyss after coming so close to the Super Bowl a year ago would not be a positive development in that regard. McNabb could at least keep them afloat for a few years so a stadium deal could get done. Tennessee TitansThe Titans also have a new coach but Mike Munchak needs some help at quarterback. Vince Young is out even with Jeff Fishers departure and Kerry Collins last legs appear to have worn out. They could go the route of drafting one but they also might want to address other needs in the draft and take a run at McNabb while they have Chris Johnson at running back and a solid offensive line. Carolina PanthersAll the way back in 2008, the Panthers had the best record in the NFC. Two years later they have the first pick of the draft. The primary difference? Quarterback play. Jake Delhomme became a turnover machine and Matt Moore was, well, Matt Moore. Jimmy Clausen was drafted in the second round a year ago but he has a long way to go and he may never make it. A competent quarterback like McNabb could make the Panthers respectable in a hurry. They also have a new head coach in Ron Rivera but, like Munchak, he is a first-time head coach and if it doesnt work out where he is it is unlikely that he will get another shot.You can reach Rich Tandler by email atRTandlerCSN@comcast.netand follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins. Rich also writes about the Skins atwww.RealRedskins.com.