Far from being a knee-jerk reaction, the Eagles’ decision to trade Donovan McNabb and elevate Kevin Kolb to starting QB was a much-discussed topic at team headquarters during the offseason.
The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday provided candid insight into the genesis of the deal with the cooperation of the Eagles’ brass and McNabb’s agent.
The story highlights several factors in how the Eagles leadership team of owner Jeffrey Lurie, coach Andy Reid, president Joe Banner and general manager Howie Roseman arrived at its decision:
- The timing: All three Eagles QBs — McNabb, Kolb and Michael Vick — are entering the final years of their contracts in 2010. The ages of McNabb (33) and Kolb (25) and their trade value also were strong considerations.
- The best fit for Philly now: The Eagles’ brass was convinced they had a good, young team. Also, they had developed Kolb for three years, so he was much more prepared to start than McNabb was in 1999, when he was thrust into a starting role midway through his rookie season. The Eagles’ brain trust recognized that Kolb was an NFL starting-caliber QB and needed an opportunity.
- The age gap: The brass also took into account that the Eagles are a younger team, and many of the players – with no disrespect to McNabb – were drawn to Kolb, who is one of their peers. Said Eagles OL Todd Herremans: “I would say probably the majority of the players are younger players, and they drew to Kevin a little better as the last year went on, especially being able to get in there and actually play with them a couple of games. The younger players in the locker room kind of wanted to see Kevin take over and get their own print on the team. As long as Donovan was on the team, it was going to be his thing, not the young kids taking over.”
- The respect factor: During a meeting with Banner in March, McNabb’s agent, Fletcher Smith, emphasized that the QB wanted to stay put. The open lines of communication between the two parties and their mutual trust were keys to navigating the delicate situation. As discussions with potential trade partners progressed, the NFC East-rival Redskins, always a background candidate, moved more to the forefront. While the trade to the Redskins was a surprise, it honored the McNabb camp’s plea for respect.