McNabb Trade Does Not Look So Bad....Now
By Lance Epstein
Of course no one could have predicted Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be accused of sexual assault for the second time in two years (another report has surfaced saying he groped a woman), but now the Eagles are smiling about what their trade could have prevented.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Steelers organization, mainly the Rooney family, are willing to deal their franchise quarterback for a top ten pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Guess who is sitting in the top five of this year's draft and who needed a franchise quarterback? That is right, the Washington Redskins. Certainly, the Eagles have reason to worry since they have to face McNabb twice a year for the next four or even five years. Additionally, he could torment and haunt the fans and the franchise over that period. However, facing an aging 33-year old McNabb for the next couple seasons is a lot more reasonable than face a young, two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback in Roethlisberger.
Philly fans know all too well that Dan Snyder is the type of owner that would jump at the opportunity to bring in a player of Big Ben's caliber and pedigree. Snyder has never been shy about spend the big bucks (like Albert Haynesworth) and shipping off draft picks to bring in talent.
Furthermore, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan was in search of an elite quarterback to help energize and jolt a franchise that has been mediocre at best over the past decade. Surely, he would have no issue with giving up the fourth-overall pick in the draft for a 28-year old quarterback that is a proven commodity.
Obviously, the Redskins have other areas of needs such as a offensive tackle sense Chris Samuels decided to retire and they have no replacement on the current roster. Still, the Skins would still possess their second round pick if they did not pull the trigger on McNabb. With that pick they could have snatched Indiana's Roger Saffold or UMass' Vlad Ducasse. Both are very underrated prospects that could be potential steals.
Another thing to mention is that Roethlisberger is the type of quarterback that does not require the best offensive line to win. The 6-foot-5-inche 241-pound quarterback demonstrated during the 2009 Steelers Super Bowl run that he could make up for a inadequate line. Many experts still believe that was one of the worst offensive lines to ever win a Lombardi Trophy.
During that year and over his career, Roethlisberger prevented sacks because he was and is extremely tough to bring down due to his size. NFL linebackers are usually the same size as him or smaller and have trouble just getting a rip on him, let alone bringing him to he ground. In addition, his mobility allows him to extend the pocket and avoid sacks that strict pocket passers cannot avoid.
Moreover, Roethlisberger is flat-out clutch. When the Steelers need him to make a play, he always comes through. In close, drag it out type of NFC East divisional games, no one wants to see a player of his caliber and knack for the dramatics have the ball in his hands.
Nevertheless, the reason that the Eagles are thrilled right now is not because they acquired the 37th overall selection or a possible third-round pick in 2011 or even the fact they might have successfully prevented the Redskins from trading up to get Oklahoma quarterback prospect Sam Bradford.
No, it is because their bold move to trade McNabb that has been criticized throughout the city of Philadelphia due sending him to a division rival (regardless of the amount of value they got in return), has worked out better than they have ever could have imagined. Head coach Andy Reid and GM Howie Roseman might have prevented a potential decade long problem without even having the knowledge at the time of the Easter Sunday trade of McNabb.
Instead of facing a physically imposing quarterback, who is a two-time Super Bowl winner at 28 and would definitely have been a thorn in the franchise’s side for the foreseeable future, they get to square off against a familiar friend.
The Eagles have a extensive knowledge of McNabb's tendencies, faults and strengths. This will permit them to implement a game plan exposes his flaws and weaknesses. With Big Ben, the Eagles would have had their work cutout for them.
Without a doubt, McNabb might continue on his path of greatness with the Redskins, but at 33 years old (34 in Novemeber) there is a better chance his play declines over the next four years, whereas Roethlisberger would still be a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback.