Monday's one-stop NFC North shopping


Unfortunately, I'm going to be out of pocket for most of Monday. We'll resume full-scale blogging Tuesday, but for now I'd like to touch on a few points percolating in my head.

Reports that Philadelphia sent Donovan McNabb to Washington as a professional courtesy are thought-provoking, especially from an NFC North perspective. Coach Andy Reid hasn't denied the suggestion: The Eagles didn't want to send McNabb into what he perceived as bad situations in Oakland or Buffalo.

My first reaction: Pure fantasy. No NFC team would turn down a competitive offer from two AFC teams, and instead make a trade within a division, as a favor to the player being traded. The easy conclusion is that the Raiders and Bills fell short, if they even made an offer at all, and that the Redskins were the most serious suitor.

But I wonder if the Eagles didn't learn something from Green Bay and the Brett Favre debacle. The Packers were so focused on shipping Favre out of the division -- and really, out of the NFC -- that they might have inadvertently contributed to Favre's arrival in Minnesota.

As you might remember, the Packers weighed offers from Tampa Bay and the New York Jets. With the Buccaneers, Favre would have been reunited with coach Jon Gruden. Had the Packers accepted that offer, Favre (and Gruden) might still be with the Buccaneers.

Instead, Favre went to a team he had no connections with and no real incentive to stay with. The random destination almost certainly contributed to his motivation to find a way to sign with the Vikings.

You don't have to buy that theory, but trust me when I tell you there are some knowledgeable football people I trust who believe it.

The Eagles know McNabb's contract could expire after this season, and he could refuse an extension with his new team and become a free agent in 2011 if he wanted. By trading him to a mutually agreeable location, the Eagles have minimized the chances of that happening. You would think McNabb will sign an extension with the Redskins, meaning the Eagles will have directed his future more than the Packers did with Favre.

So while McNabb will now be in position to impact the Eagles' future in the NFC East, he will have to do it with the division's least competitive team. The Eagles are confident in their replacement, Kevin Kolb, and didn't see the necessity to banish McNabb to Siberia to protect themselves. It's a novel concept. Was it the right one? We'll soon see.

There have inevitably arisen comparisons between Kolb and Aaron Rodgers, who near-seamlessly took over for Favre in Green Bay. These suggestions are based primarily on the fact that both players spent multiple seasons backing up a Pro Bowl quarterback.

But let's be careful about assuming everything else will fall into place the same way. What Rodgers has done is exceptional, above-the-curve work. Let's not diminish it by suggesting the primary ingredient is having a few years of incubation on the bench.

Detroit should announce the acquisition of cornerback Dante Wesley sometime early this week. But as teams start to batten down for the draft, the Lions still have at least one important order of business remaining: Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones.

There is clearly no rush to get Jones under contract, and it's possible the Lions will wait to see how they fare in the draft. But it's not out of the question that something could develop over the next week or two.