AFC West: McNabb Traded

It seems Donovan McNabb was serious about not becoming an Oakland Raider.

Yahoo! Sports is reporting that McNabb would have retired if he had been traded to Oakland. Instead, McNabb will continue his playing career now that he has been sent from Philadelphia to Washington.

I know McNabb was reluctant to go to Oakland. I recently talked to someone in his camp who expressed that sentiment. However, I doubt McNabb would have retired instead of playing for Oakland.

Really, that type of talk is cheap. And it is also a tad unfair to the Raiders. Sure, times have been tough in Oakland and it is not the first place players want to go to these days, but to retire?

Come on. Like Richard Seymour did last year, McNabb likely would have taken some time to digest the move and then committed himself to play for the Raiders. Retiring at the age of 33 instead of playing for Oakland would have defined an incomplete legacy for McNabb.

Perhaps it was just a threat, but had he been traded to Oakland, McNabb ultimately would have embraced the opportunity.
This may be JaMarcus Russell’s last chance to regain his job.

Now that Donovan McNabb has been traded to the Washington Redskins, the Oakland Raiders still have a need for a quarterback.

There are no sure-thing quarterbacks available on the market (perhaps former Washington starter Jason Campbell is the best quarterback who will be available) and the Raiders currently have Russell and Gradkowski, going to camp to compete for the starting job.

Gradkowski replaced Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in 2007, in November. Gradkowski was much better than Russell and he gave Oakland new life. If another quarterback isn’t brought into Oakland, he still has the edge over Russell.

It is clear Russell didn’t do enough in the early part of the offseason to convince Oakland that he is ready to be a solid starter. If he did, there’s no way the Raiders would have pursued McNabb. Russell should be embarrassed Oakland keeps looking to replace him. He has to take it personally and use it as a source of motivation.

Russell likely will never be the player Oakland drafted him to be. His chances are running out, but Sunday night, he got a reprieve. Now can he do anything about it?
Philadelphia’s trade of Donovan McNabb to Washington on Sunday night impacted the AFC West more than just marking the end of Oakland’s pursuit of the quarterback.

It could also impact Denver receiver Brandon Marshall and the Kansas City Chiefs’ first-round pick.

Some thought Washington would trade for Marshall by offering the No. 37 overall pick in the draft as part of a package. The Redskins gave up that pick in the McNabb deal. Washington still has the No. 4 overall pick, but there is virtually no chance the Redskins would give up that pick for Marshall. The only team to show any interest in the restricted free agent is Seattle.

With its need for a quarterback satisfied, Washington is expected to use its top pick on a left tackle. The best tackle available is Russell Okung of Oklahoma State, and he's now considered Washington's favorite target.

Kansas City has a big need at left tackle and safety. Analysts speculated that the Chiefs will choose between Okung and Tennessee safety Eric Berry. Both players visited the Chiefs last week. But if Okung is gone at No. 4, it would mean Berry might now be a Chief as a result of Sunday night's trade.
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.

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