The Big Question: McNabb a fit in Oakland?

March, 30, 2010
3/30/10
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NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Is Donovan McNabb a good fit in Oakland?

The idea of replacing hugely disappointing JaMarcus Russell and journeyman Bruce Gradkowski with perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb is naturally intriguing.

Donovan McNabb
Jody Gomez/US PresswireDonovan McNabb has said he wants to remain in Philadelphia.
McNabb is a much better player than Russell or Gradkowski ever could hope to be. If McNabb were traded to Oakland, quarterback would not be a problem area for the Raiders in 2010. McNabb’s arrival would answer one of Oakland’s issues and instantly improve and give credibility to the offense. But does a trade to Oakland really make sense?

There are several reasons this may not be a great fit for Oakland.

McNabb has played his entire NFL career in the West Coast offense. The essence of that offense is to get rid of the ball. Al Davis loves having his receivers running deep routes. That’s why Russell was drafted No. 1 overall in 2007. He had the big arm that fit Oakland’s offense. McNabb is a pro and he can adjust, but he can’t be expected to fling 60-yard bombs regularly. One of the reasons Philadelphia is interested in trading McNabb is because it believes Kevin Kolb is better equipped to throw the ball more.

Also, Oakland’s supporting cast is not exactly playoff ready. The offensive line is a major project, and McNabb, who will turn 34 in November, is not as nimble as he once was. His running numbers have decreased over the years, and the injuries have mounted. McNabb has played a full season just four times in 11 seasons and has missed 17 games in the past five seasons. Could McNabb survive and be an effective player with Oakland’s offensive line? If not, Oakland’s skill-position players would have a difficult time bailing out McNabb. Oakland’s receivers are green and prone to dropping the ball, and the running game has been inconsistent.

It would be a tad unfair and naive to think McNabb would be able to carry Oakland’s offense at this point. It's understandable if McNabb is reluctant to go to Oakland, which has not had a winning season since 2002.

These issues and McNabb's huge contract and pending free agency make him a dicey fit for the Raiders.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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