By: Beasley Reece
Sports Fans in the News Room were aghast!
My phone has been ringing off the wall!
Sports talk radio stations are calling me for comments and reaction to Donovan McNabbs new contract. As of this posting the Washington Redskins have not made an official announcement but here’s the deal. ESPN is reporting that number 5 and the Skins have agreed upon a contract extension worth 78 million dollars. If the 34 year old McNabb achieves all available incentives the deal could escalate to 88 million. 40 million dollars of the extension is guaranteed money.
I agree that this was unexpected but I can see what Head Coach Mike Shanahan is doing. Mike won his Super Bowls in Denver with an ageing John Elway. Like Donovan, John was no longer the gunslinger of his youth but he was an experienced Quarterback with unquestioned leadership and an impeccable resume. Also like Donovan, John had been to but had not won a Super Bowl. Shanahan will eventually build a running football team. That’s what he did in Denver and that’s what he will do in Washington. He does not need or want a Quarterback who expects to throw the ball 45 times per game. He needs a game manager who understands how important it is to protect the football and get it into the hands of the playmakers. The Skins are also looking for stability.
40 million dollars is the going rate for top flight Quarterbacks these days so the money isn’t really an issue.
Now lets look at age. Shanahan is too old to wait for a young Quarterback to learn the Pro game. The Redskins under owner Daniel Snyder have gone too long without a respectable product. Washington should end up around .500 for the season so they will not have a top 10 or 15 draft spot that would promise a shot at hiring one of the hand full of top flight college studs. So why gamble? Keep your proven veteran Pro Bowler and build the running game around his leadership.
Most of you are scratching your heads because Donovan was benched two weeks ago in the final minutes of their loss to Detroit. That made many question Donovan’s future. See the front page of our local news papers. One proclaimed that McNabb was playing for his NFL future on Monday Night Football. As it turns out, his future is at least 40 million dollars richer.
Mike said Donovan didn’t have a complete grasp of the Skins two minute offense. If you didn’t play in the Pros you may not realize the fact that teams speak a completely different language. It would be like your company transferring you to Paris and giving you six months to learn to speak fluent French. Then demand that you talk fast! Donovan spent 12 years learning and perfecting one language in one stable system. He is still probably translating Redskins nomenclature into similar plays in Andy Reid’s offense. It is entirely possible that he MAY NOT have been ready to blurt out changes at the line of scrimmage during a two minute drill with no time outs. It is also possible that veteran Redskins like Tight End Chris Cooley was helping Donovan complete play calling in the huddle.
When I went from the Cowboys to the Giants I remember telling myself, “Oh yeah, that’s what we called Cover 3-Zone-Mike Blitz-Lucy, in Dallas”.
Some offensive plays can require six or seven coded or abbreviated instructions.
You will hear people who have been proclaiming Donovan dead cover their rears by saying the Redskins are stupid. The truth is that Donovan IS an excellent QB whose time in Philadelphia simply ran out. For a team like the Redskins that will focus less on his arm and more on his experience as they build a typical Shanahan running offense in the future, McNabb is a perfect fit.