(Originally Posted: Tuesday March 23, 2010)
There is one aspect that most people miss when we discuss trading Donovan. He is in the final year of his contract. He has an awful lot of power in deciding what team he gets traded to. He’s going to have to want to go to the team he’s traded. Any team that’s going to give up a first round pick plus other compensation is going to need to sign McNabb to a long term contract before the deal in consummated. So everyone who keeps saying we should trade him to St. Louis or Buffalo or Cleveland really needs to shut up and get off the stage. A McNabb trade will have to be to a team that has almost all the pieces to make a solid playoff run, so he’ll be happy (for once.)
I know what you’re thinking. Hey Couch, let’s trade him to Minnesota when Favre flakes out on his team and bails on them in pre-season! That’s probably an option too, but I don’t think Reid’s willing to make that big of a move so close to the season beginning. Especially within the conference. It would leave our quarterback stable questionable at best. (Feels good to get a Favre shot in. Been a while.)
No, today we’re talking about another quarterback who’s dragged his reputation threw the mud in the last few years, Ben Roethlisberger. For those of you who don’t know, Big Ben has been allegedly accused of sexual assault in both of the last two off-seasons. He also got into a major accident while riding his motorcycle without a helmet a few years back during another off-season. His standing in Pittsburgh has taken a severe beating. The incidents have become serious enough that Commissioner Goodell has decided to meet with Roethlisberger. There have also been whispers of suspension.
Now in some sports towns, that’s no big deal. (cough, Dallas, cough.) However, the Rooney family that has owned the Steelers since the beginning of time thinks it is a big deal. While they may not be “the gold standard franchise of the NFL”, they are one of the founding members of the league, and take the reputation in the league and their community very seriously. How seriously? There are now rumors floating around that ownership is considering cutting ties with Roethlisberger and looking at other options at quarterback.
If the Steelers organization feels that Roethlisberger’s transgressions have become great enough that they need to move on, or feel they show a pattern of someone who’s not mature enough to be the face of their organization, they will need to make a big splash his replacement. No matter how some of us feel about McNabb’s inconsistency on the field, no one can question his character off the field. He has been a model citizen. He’s handled the TO, Kolb, Garcia and Vick situations with class. Never an off the field incident. Always involved in charitable causes. While he may not be as funny as he thinks he is, he’s always been great with the media. He’s definitely the type of man that you want leading your organization (off the field, at least.)
Do the Steelers have the stones to cut ties with their 28 year old quarterback who has two Super Bowl titles under his belt? That’s the multi-million dollar question. Besides the off the field shenanigans, there is also the unknown concussion factor with Roethlisberger. Is he one good hit from his career ending? If the Steelers want to prematurely end the Roethlisberger era, they are going to need a big name to replace him. Dennis Dixon, Daunte Culpepper or Bryon Leftwich starting the season under center will certainly cause a justifiable riot in Steeler Nation.
On the other side of the coin, Pittsburgh has everything McNabb could possibly want for the next phase of his career. A solid organization, a good head coach, a perennial playoff team and passionate fans. There is no reason whatsoever for Donovan not to want to sign a long term deal and finish his career on the other side of the state, if he were traded.
Trading McNabb to the Steelers is a classic win-win scenario. (Or as Michael Scott would say, win-win-win, because I came up with the idea.) The Eagles trade McNabb out of conference, the Steelers get a new pristine face for their organization, Roethlisberger gets the wake up call he needs a la Cris Carter and Donovan gets to finish his career with a quality organization. Even the Steelers first round pick is about the right value for McNabb at 18. The Eagles want to move on to the Kevin Kolb era, despite what they say publicly. Philadelphia is ready to move on from talking about its quarterback situation. This just makes too much sense for everyone. That’s why it probably won’t happen.