When the story broke Wednesday that the Eagles had a deal on the table from the St. Louis Rams for QB Donovan McNabb, the wheels started to spin on this story.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Rams had offered their second-round pick — along with safety O.J. Atogwe — in return for McNabb. As usual, this was followed by strong denials from Rams GM Billy Delaney, who called the report “utterly ridiculous.”

From a football standpoint, I don’t see the value of letting McNabb go for second-round value. Even if these reports are somewhat viable, including the nice sidebar about a safety who makes plays on the football from the middle of the field — something Philly desperately needs in its pressure scheme — why give up a franchise QB for a second rounder?

I understand that Philly fans generally have their own opinion about McNabb, but if you’re one of the multiple teams who were mentioned yesterday when this story broke — Oakland, Buffalo, Seattle, San Fran, Arizona, Minnesota, St. Louis, etc. — getting a talent like McNabb for that value is a steal.

Because there’s no player in the entire draft — at any position — who has a second-round tag that equals the 2010 value of McNabb. If you’re a GM, or if you’re a coach like Chan Gailey of the Bills, you would celebrate bringing McNabb to Orchard Park for a second rounder knowing what you have on the roster at QB.

It would be an instant upgrade for more than half the league.

But this is exactly what the Eagles may be trying to do. By Andy Reid acknowledging that the Eagles will listen to offers for McNabb — and all of their QBs — that market value starts to go up. The more rumors, speculation and talk that concerns Philly, the more they’ll see in return. That second-round tag will jump to a first-round value when multiple teams start to call and offers start to pour in.

I have no problem believing that McNabb is on the market — but it has to be for the right value. This franchise is going to insert Kevin Kolb into the lineup sooner rather than later. That’s just the business of this sport, and although Kevin Kolb hasn’t proven — outside of a couple of games — that he can be the leader of this football team, Reid and the Eagles will pull the plug on McNabb’s career as an Eagle if they get an offer they can live with.

Then, and only then, should they turn the keys over to Kolb. But until we see that happen, the Eagles will continue to dangle the guy out there who has taken this team to postseason after postseason.

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