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Posted: Monday March 15, 2010 7:15AM; Updated: Monday March 15, 2010 1:38PM
Peter King

Deals for Delhomme, Quinn beg the question: Where's love for McNabb

Story Highlights

The Eagles have made Donovan McNabb available, for the right price

Rex Ryan and the Jets got their wish, landing LaDainian Tomlinson

Five For Fighting update, Quotes of the Week and 10 Things I Think

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Donovan McNabb (3,553 yards, 22 TDs in '09) would bring stability and peace of mind to a QB-needy franchise for the next four to five years.
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Whoa. Looking like a dead Sunday, middle of March, with me still incredulous over the Browns paying Jake Delhomme $7 million, and all of a sudden, LaDainian Tomlinson flies to the Jets, Brady Quinn gets a new life in Denver and the Raiders take a chance on a pass-rusher who was a big disappointment in Cleveland, Kamerion Wimbley. In an hour.

Tease alert: Stay tuned, down a bit in the column, for a good nugget about the first thing Rex Ryan said when he woke up from lap-band weight-loss surgery Saturday.

The weekend news leaves us with one big personnel story (except for the fate of Brandon Marshall) prior to the draft: Why are teams not fighting to get Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb from the Eagles?

It's interesting how this story of the Eagles quarterbacks has stretched out. We all know it's unlikely Philly opens the season with McNabb, Kolb and Michael Vick as the quarterback depth chart. If I'm laying odds, it's 60-40 McNabb is under center for the Eagles on opening day. But that 40 percent (who knows -- maybe it's 30 or 35) means something. Andy Reid has said McNabb is his quarterback, but the one thing he has not said is "I absolutely will not trade Donovan McNabb.''

Case in point. Remember last summer, two weeks before Philly landed Vick, when Reid said signing Vick "is not the direction we're looking"? He never said, "We have no interest in Vick.'' So when he says he's happy with his quarterbacks and feels McNabb is his guy, it's a lot different than saying he wouldn't deal him.

A playoff quarterback near his prime can be had for a premium price. The fact that there's a real chance the Eagles could deal McNabb, and that McNabb is a half-year younger than Peyton Manning and apparently intends to play four or five more seasons, and also apparently has kicked the injury bug, leads me to this question: What in the world are all these quarterback-needy teams doing? Why aren't teams running to deal for McNabb?

The prime object of this game in the personnel area is to get a quarterback who can win games and lead your team, and a good, proven one is out there. The Eagles aren't shopping him, but they surely are listening.

I asked a coach with a quarterback need about McNabb, and the coach said because McNabb is on the last year of his contract and would probably need to be re-signed, and the fact that Philadelphia would want a high draft choice for him in a very good draft, and the fact that he doesn't have a lot of years left, all combine to make it a tough trade. Understood. Good factors all. But McNabb is 33.

I have my own problems with McNabb. I don't consider him on the Manning-Brady-Brees plane. I think the Eagles should go with Kolb and make the best deal they can for McNabb this offseason, because, basically, it's Groundhog Day in Philadelphia. Every year's the same, and I don't see McNabb getting Philly over the hump and into another Super Bowl.

So why would I want to pawn him off on another quarterback-needy team when I don't think he's a top-five quarterback? Simple. Because he's a top-10 or top-12 quarterback, and they're too hard to find to let one pass when he's just sitting there for the taking. McNabb would shore up any team's most important position for the next half-decade. Some team's going to take Jimmy Clausen between, say, the fourth and 20th pick in the first round, and whoever takes him is going to have no idea if he's the long-term solution at quarterback.

NFL teams have picked 30 quarterbacks in the first round since 1999. Of those 30, I'd say six (McNabb, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers) have turned into top-flight starters. Six more (Chad Pennington, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Vick, Daunte Culpepper) have been well worth the pick; Vick, remember, had the Falcons on strong playoff runs early in his career.

The other 18 include four No. 1 overall picks (Tim Couch, David Carr, Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell) who have either failed or need career CPR to get back on track. Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, Cade McNown, Kyle Boller, J.P. Losman -- finished far too soon. Twelve success stories out of 30, with a few more hanging in the balance.

What would you rather have, a four- or five-year shot at a relatively sure thing in McNabb (with a +12 TD/INT ratio in each of his past four seasons), or a guy who makes you go to bed uneasy every night for the next two or three years because you just don't know how he'll pan out?

I've also heard what a great draft this is, and I respect teams determined to build through the draft. Long term, it's clearly the best way to build your team right. The last time I heard so many raves about a draft beforehand was the 2004 crop, with the three good quarterbacks (Rivers, Manning, Roethlisberger) and rock-solid depth at several other positions.

Well, I looked up that draft Sunday, and here were the fifth through 10th picks in this so-called superior draft:

5. Washington: Sean Taylor, S, Miami (Fla.).
6. Cleveland: Kellen Winslow, TE, Miami (Fla.).
7. Detroit: Roy Williams, WR, Texas.
8. Atlanta: DeAngelo Hall, CB, Virginia Tech.
9. Jacksonville: Reggie Williams, WR, Washington.
10. Houston: Dunta Robinson, CB, South Carolina.

Forgot to mention Robert Gallery, second overall pick. Six years later, six of the top 10 picks in a thought-to-be excellent draft are gone, with just traces of the impact they were supposed to have left on their teams. A seventh, Gallery, was so unimpressive at tackle the Raiders moved him to guard. It's time for one of the QB-needy teams to step up. Seattle has the sixth and 14th picks, San Francisco the 13th and 17th picks.

Re: Seattle, franchise saviors usually don't last forever. Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier can tell you that. If I'm Pete Carroll, and I can have McNabb as my quarterback for the next four years, I jump at it. Cleveland, Oakland, Buffalo and Jacksonville are 7 through 10. If I'm Reid, I'm keeping Kolb (which I think he aims to do), and hoping/praying some team comes to its senses and chases McNabb before the draft.

I think one of the quarterbacks is going. Where, I don't know. When, I don't know. But one last note about the Eagles and quarterbacks: Fordham University, not exactly a football hotbed, had its pro day for NFL coaches and scouts Friday in the Bronx. Fordham has a late-round quarterback prospect, John Skelton. The Eagles were at the workout with not one coach but two -- quarterback coach James Urban and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. Maybe it means nothing, but it's pretty rare for two coaches to be looking at a late-round quarterback -- especially when you're as packed at quarterback as the Eagles are. Unless, of course, you're planning to jettison one of your quarterbacks before the draft.

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