Apr 4, 2010
The Eagles have traded QB Donovan McNabb for the 37th pick in the 2010 draft and a 4th-round pick in 2011 that could be upgraded to a 3rd-round pick.
Here’s my quick take on this move:
For the Eagles, the Kevin Kolb era begins now, so his value soars for those in keeper leagues. We had him at #20 in our recent keeper league ranking update, and now we’ll move him to around 12-13. Kolb may be drafted for 2010 as a fantasy backup, but a high-end one (or a low-end starter). Either way, that does present a solid value on the pass-happy Eagles. Kolb is still unproven, but the team is (obviously) comfortable with him, and they’ve seen him up close and personal for three full years. And there’s a lot to be said for how much better he performed in 2009 compared to previous appearances, when he actually had practice time preparing for his two starts. He’s a more accurate passer with better timing and anticipation, so while McNabb did throw a very good deep ball, which was good for DeSean Jackson, we can’t say the Eagle receivers should be downgraded due to this move. They may actually be better off, but it’s a little early in the Kolb era to upgrade them. For now, I’m okay saying Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek are holding steady for ’10 and beyond. Kolb, who has solid arm strength, will be a very interesting fantasy pick in 2010 because he’s certainly capable of putting up top-12 numbers, given the nature of the offense and the quality of the skill players around him. I’m inclined to believe Kolb will have success and will finish with solid numbers, but it is a little risky to invest too heavily in him. He could certainly hit some rough patches as a first-year starter – but the Eagles are clearly confident in him right now, and I am, too. I’d be okay drafting him as my starter provided the value was appealing and I was able to back him up with another quality option in that 10-15 range at QB, such as Carson Palmer. Right now I’d guess Kolb will be drafted in the 7th or 8th round in a 10 or 12-team league, but that could vary from league-to-league.
As for the Redskins, there are some questions to be answered, and right now the big one is this: Will McNabb get signed to a contract extension? I have to think that’s in place here because it wouldn’t make much sense for the Redskins to give up what they did for a 1-year rental player. If that’s the case, then Jason Campbell (who has yet to sign his RFA tender) will likely be on the move as well, which will affect the QB landscape in the league, for sure. I could see him in a Raider uniform, no question, since Campbell does throw a good deep ball and fits their offense well. The Raiders apparently expected to get McNabb, so they’re clearly looking for someone else. Buffalo, St. Louis, and San Francisco would also make sense (but not the Rams, obviously, if they’re set to take Sam Bradford #1 overall). An extension with McNabb would also put the Redskins out of the running for a QB with the 4th pick in this month’s draft. Most likely, they’ll address a huge need and take a LT like Russell Okung, Bryan Bulaga, or Trent Williams. If there is no extension, that does change things, so we’ll see. But I fully expect an extension for McNabb coming soon.
Although there will be chemistry issues with his receivers, McNabb should be considered an upgrade for the Redskin receivers. Like McNabb, Campbell wasn’t great in terms of his accuracy and anticipation, but at least McNabb plays with a quicker tempo, can extend more plays with his mobility and escapability, and he throws a better deep ball. He’s simply a better player overall. McNabb should be able to adjust to Mike Shanahan’s offense, since it is a West Coast system. The one player who could benefit most from the McNabb acquisition is WR Santana Moss. As we’ve seen over the last two years with Jackson in Philly, McNabb throws a good deep ball, and Moss is still a pretty effective vertical receiver. His skills are declining, but, if healthy, he could have another good year in him with McNabb in the fold. TE Chris Cooley’s value probably stays about the same, since McNabb has plenty of experience throwing to the TE and is a better overall QB, yet he’ll still likely throw numerous passes at Cooley’s feet. As for youngsters Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, it’s going to be hard for McNabb to get the best out of them right away, given his lack of chemistry with them, not to mention their deficiencies. He hasn’t shown much in his two years, but Thomas can run and he does have talent, so he could emerge with a better QB throwing him the ball. I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach with Thomas.
One other key point about McNabb on the Redskins: Under Shanahan, he will definitely have an active running game behind him, which should help. At this point in his career, he’s a player who could use some support in the form of a commitment to the running game. Of course, the stable of backs in Washington is comprised of three players on the downsides of their careers – so I’m not sure it will be an effective running game – but there will be a commitment. I would also be negligent if I didn’t point out that the OL is a major issue in Washington, and that’s definitely a potential problem for the aging McNabb as he adjusts to his new team.
So to summarize, I feel the values of the key Eagle skill players are holding steady after this move, and I’ll give a slight upgrade to the Redskin receivers, especially Santana Moss. And, of course, the fantasy community is about to welcome Kevin Kolb into the mix in a big way.
The only other angle to cover now at this early stage is which QB I’d rather have for 2010: Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb?
I’ll take Kolb – gladly.