The biggest news of an uncharacteristically quiet offseason for the Oakland Raiders, so far, is the trade that never happened.
Donovan McNabb is now a Washington Redskin. So goes the vision of No. 5 wearing the Silver and Black.
It’s been a fun 10 days pondering the possibility of McNabb becoming the next leader of the Raiders. The Raiders had been in hot pursuit and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last week that the Raiders were the front-runner.
In the end, Washington gave up a second-round pick next month (No. 37) and a conditional pick in the 2011 draft. Oakland has the No. 39 pick.
I was torn on the idea of McNabb becoming a Raider and now that McNabb won’t be a Raider, I don’t think it’s devastating to the team.
I liked the idea of Oakland trying to upgrade at quarterback. The JaMarcus Russell-Bruce Gradkowski pairing is not going to work in the long term. McNabb would have give Oakland’s offense some credibility and it would be a better team in 2010 with McNabb.
But there were plenty of negatives involved as well. McNabb will turn 34 in November and he is a free agent after 2010. He is expensive and Oakland would likely have to put the franchise tag on him (which will be an enormous number) to keep him in 2011.
Now, Oakland has to figure how it will move forward. There are limited veteran options available.
At the top of the list is now Jason Campbell, who lost his starting gig to McNabb on Sunday night. Campbell is far from a top-level quarterback, but he would be the best quarterback in Oakland and he’d come fairly cheap. He wouldn’t be a terrible option for the short term if Oakland doesn’t think Russell or Gradkowski could handle the job. Other options include Minnesota No. 3 quarterback Sage Rosenfels, Baltimore backup Troy Smith and drafting a quarterback.
None of these options will make Oakland markedly better. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders let Gradkowski try to develop and become the short-term answer. Gradkowski is feisty and he gave the offense a spark. The Raiders could do worse than having Gradkowski play in 2010. It is clear by Oakland’s flirtation with McNabb that the Raiders don’t feel Russell is the answer. The Raiders feel like they need to look for an answer at quarterback.
After failing to land McNabb, the question remains.