We all know how things went for Donovan McNabb after his trade from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Washington Redkins. After being one of the best quarterbacks in the league during his time in Philly, McNabb suffered through his time in Washington, was benched in Minnesota, and now can be found on Comcast Sports Net every Thursday.
At the time, the decision to trade McNabb seemed like an obvious one. With Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb on the roster, it only made sense to trade the oldest of the three and move on to the future.
But how close was it to being Vick who got the boot over McNabb? According to Gary Myers of the New York Daily News, it came down to not age or the future- but to who would bring the most back in a trade.
Here is what Myers had to say during an interview this morning on 94WIP:
“[Andy Reid] did tell me in that interview—now this was right after they traded McNabb to Washington—he told me, if the best offer he got was for Vick, he would have traded Vick,”
“And I said [to Reid],’ you’re telling me after the public relations hit you guys took in Philly, the damage control you had to do after you signed Vick (he’s only been here for a year at that point). I mean you did all the dirty with Michael Vick, you made it easier for any team to then trade for him because you know, the funeral had sort of died down at the point.’ I said, ‘you would have been willing to just give him up after a year, after what you have invested in him?’ And he said, if that was the best offer then he would have traded him then. At that point, he would have signed McNabb and Kevin Kolb.”
Myers was interviewing Reid for his new book, Coaching Confidential.
Since that offer for Vick never came- and it's hard to imagine anyone would have offered more than a 2nd for Vick- we'll never know what he would have really done or how things would have played out.
But since this quote obviously invites speculation and "what ifs", lets do it.
What would things be like if Reid really had been offered more for Vick and pulled the trigger?
In all likely hood, we would have never seen the Vick that played lights out after coming in for Kolb. Vick would have gone to a franchise, been handed the keys, and would probably be playing the same brand of football we see now. With McNabb at the helm for another year, Kolb would have remained on the bench. Assuming McNabb played at the most 2 more years, Eagles fans could now be entering game 4 of the Kevin Kolb era. Also, without Vick behind him, Kolb could have been given some more time to work things out as the starter.
It's also possible that had Reid stayed with McNabb and not advanced far in the playoffs, they could both be out of town. That would leave us in a world where Juan Castillo could still potentially be coaching the offensive line. Weird.
Now it's easy for Reid to say now what he would have done, but if he is telling the truth, it speaks volumes about what Reid thought of Vick in the long run- not much.
After spending a year with Vick and taking the public backlash as Myers points out, why would Reid throw that all away for one, maybe two years more of McNabb? Keeping McNabb would also have kept Kolb on the bench for another year. Obviously this is all speculation, but Reid's supposed willingness to trade Vick after one year shows that he must not have thought much of him in the long run.
It also says that Reid might not be as committed to Vick as much as we all think. It was easy for Reid to keep Vick in when he was playing at a Pro-Bowl level for his first few starts, but now that he is struggling, speculation has already begun that Reid could turn to Foles. There was also speculation this past off-season that the Eagles showed some interest in Peyton Manning, and whispers of the Eagles considering moving up to get Robert Griffin III. Does this quote add some fuel to that fire?
Obviously this is taking an awful lot from a quote, but to me, it is just another example of Reid showing he is not tied to any quarterback and will simply play the best one.
Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks