by Michael Lombardi
March 30, 02010
QUOTE: “Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.” -- Margaret Chase Smith
The quarterback shuffle
Given his impressive workout Monday, it looks as though Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford solidified his position as the first overall pick in the draft. I understand the Rams want to hold a private workout with Bradford three days before the draft, so they can say honestly they have not made a “final decision.” (The delay in holding a workout must be for their pending negotiations because it makes no sense to wait that long). With the first pick possibly settled, does that mean we might get the Donovan McNabb saga resolved here in Philadelphia?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Raiders are the clear favorites to acquire McNabb. If they make this move, it would legitimize the Raiders, give them hope at quarterback and make them a threat in the AFC West — from a talent standpoint. The risk they seem to be willing to take year after year is that they might have to franchise McNabb to get more than one more year on his contract. The franchise number could be as high as $20 million for one season in 2011, which would be acceptable in an uncapped system but hard to handle if the league reverts back to the cap structure (if the league stays uncapped, the Raiders would have two tags to keep, McNabb and Richard Seymour). Not having an extension is not a good business practice, which the Raiders should have learned from dealing with Seymour, but in their current state, they need to do something to win — quickly.
The Raiders would be smart to make this happen, but what surprises me is how few teams seem willing to get involved. Even more surprising is that although Eagles fans and now management want to end the McNabb era, are they sure that life after Donovan will still be successful? This team is built around the power of McNabb’s arm and his ability to move around in the pocket. Kevin Kolb looked effective in two starts last season, but for me, it takes 20 games to actually know what to expect from a starting quarterback. The Eagles seem to be willing to go “all in” with Kolb now.
If this trade does go down, Kolb will be asking himself, “How can I be any better than McNabb has been?” Think about that for a moment. Analyze the numbers and make sure this decision is made based on knowledge and fact, not just emotion. Emotions run deep when discussing McNabb in Philadelphia, but emotional decisions don’t always prove to be right.
I realize McNabb doesn’t have a Super Bowl title under his belt, but he’s been successful in terms of winning games and leading the team to the cusp of the Super Bowl. He’ll be hard to replace, and if Kolb approaches his numbers, he’ll have a wonderful career.
Eagles fans better hope he does. And Kolb has to realize the expectations are enormous.
Former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant will work out for teams today in his hometown of Lufkin, Texas, and I’m confident he’ll do well showing his powerful quickness, explosive movement and great hand-eye coordination. Working out or being athletically talented are not issues that will keep Bryant out of the top 10, but his off-the-field behavior and maturity level could be issues.
Bryant is one of the best wide receivers to come out in the draft in several years, but concerns about what will happen once he makes money and has to deal with the grind of the season have to be resolved by most teams. Whichever team drafts Bryant must have a program in place to assist him and provide guidance, something he was not afforded growing up.
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