Saturday, July 3, 2010

No need to panic over McNabb's contract status

We are starting to see the first expressions of alarm over the fact that the Redskins and Donovan McNabb have apparently not made meaningful progress on agreeing to a contract extension nearly three months after he was acquired from Philadelphia.  Obviously, if he were to play here for one year and then depart as a free agent in 2011 the trade would not have been a good use of a second round pick (and another mid-rounder next year).  I'm not worried about that scenario, because it is not at all in McNabb's interest.
Whether or not playing out the season on a one year contract would be a desirable BATNA for McNabb depends on how 2010 goes.  As if you need a reminder, his left tackle is a rookie who will face a gauntlet of accomplished pass rushers, his right tackle is coming off of a lost year and multiple surgeries, his interior line is simply mediocre, his running backs are ancient and in decline, and his receivers are sufficiently unimpressive that the Redskins went running out to sign Mike Furrey in June.  Also, McNabb and all of his compatriots will be learning a brand new offensive system. 

There is a chance that everyone picks up the system, the line stays healthy, and the receivers progress to the point that McNabb has a big year.  Then he's golden - the Redskins would be forced to pay top dollar to keep him rather than let him slip away and enduring the backlash from a restive fanbase.  But if anything goes wrong, causing the offense to hit some bumps or for McNabb to miss a few games with an injury, he has screwed himself come free agency. 

The first scenario is conceivable, but if you were forced to put money on one or the other I think most everyone would choose the second. 

McNabb is 33 years old and this will be his last big contract. There's no way he or his agent are foolish enough to risk ruining it with a (rather likely) mediocre 2010.

And the fact that serious talks aren't yet taking place is not in itself a bad sign.  Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are due for extensions as well, and it is only responsible for McNabb to wait for them to set the market for veteran quarterbacks to avoid underselling himself.  That's how these negotiations work.

And I'm not even too concerned if the situation remains unresolved once training camp opens.  Sure there will be talk of  "distractions," but McNabb is a grown man and a professional, and he also pays an agent to deal with this stuff for him.  I doubt that the business dealings would have much impact on the practice field.

If McNabb is unsigned once the regular season opens, then we need to worry.  But I don't see that happening.

Here's some links for you:

- Rich Tandler tells us Larry Johnson has made a strong case for significant playing time, and Portis may be given the third down role.  I think that is great for Portis given his exceptional pass blocking and the fact that there is no one in the NFL who will fight harder for that last yard.  I expect both of these guys to get a lot of work.

- Hog Heaven has an excellent write-up on the late Don Coryell and his impact on the Redskins over the years.

- Devin Thomas continues to enjoy being pretty.

- July is when NFL news more or less goes dark until training camps open, but Matt Bowen explains why this is still a crucial time for players.

- Walking Deadman of fellow Redskins blog It Is What is Is... (and soon-to-be teammate) has started a Twitter account, so check it out and "follow" it, or whatever people do with Twitter.  Various folks have been trying cajole me into using Twitter, but I'm a curmudgeon about such things and have vigorously resisted.  I guess I'll cave eventually, like I did when I finally got a cell phone in 2004.  But for now I'll let WD walk out into that minefield and see how it goes.

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