Rumour and speculation has followed Philadelphia Eagles franchise QB, Donovan McNabb, ever since last years draft when the club drafted Kevin Kolb. On Monday ESPN reported interest in a trader for McNabb from Baltimore. The Philadelphia Inquirer speculated that the Bears could also come knocking for a trade. Will the NFC East looking very tight next year, the Eagles will need to improve in several areas if they are to challenge for the top. Certainly trading McNabb now could help inject resources across the roster. But is now the right time?
Only last month Donovan himself said: “Now that the season is over and we are concentrating on 2008, I hope we are able to secure some playmakers in all three phases of the game,” McNabb wrote on his blog. “Maybe some of those playmakers are already on the roster but have struggled with injuries, myself included, that have held us back a little.”
“You can’t argue with how the Patriots went outside their locker room and stocked up on playmakers last year. It certainly helped to have Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Wes Welker and Adalius Thomas making plays for them all year.”
As this years free agency and the draft loom large, nobody who bleeds green could disagree with him. The Eagles, who underperformed in 2007/8, certainly need some big play making additions this off season, if they are to top the NFC East again in 2008/9. Albeit that a handful more points would have completely transformed the season.
It would be simple to say that: ‘Not much needs to change to turn things around’. However, if you don’t improve year on year other teams will pass you by. If genuine success is to be achieved next year the little things need to be put right just to stand still. A major improvement in pressure from the Defence, more performance passing down the field, more strength in depth and more points from special teams to name a few.
Injuries to LJ Smith, Kearse and McNabb played a pivotal role in the outcome of the season. The absence of Jevon Kearse hurt the rotation at Defensive End and Donovan only played on one leg for much of the season. After Kearse went the DEs coped for a while before the extra load took it’s toll. By week 5 the Eagles had amassed 15.5 sacks but they only had 7 over the last 11 weeks, a fifth of the production. The number don’t lie. Despite Donovan’s mobility problems early in the season, he closed out the season in good form and actually had one of his better years.
If this was a fantasy team in keeper league you would probably trade McNabb now, if you thought more injuries were likely, whilst you can deal with a hot hand and get maximum value for your trade. With LJ Smith potentially going through free agency and the need to improve the roster, there is then a case for trading McNabb. However, Kolb is a fine prospect but largely untested. At some point he will have to step up but is now the right time? Only Jeffrey Lurie, Andy Reid, Joe Banner and the front office will know the answer. They usually pull a few rabbits out of the hat and I don’t think this off season will be any different. I suspect them to franchise LJ and avoid the need to trade McNabbulous No5. Time will tell.