Tuesday, April 6, 2010

McNabb deal validates Seymour trade

Hi all,

In case you didn't hear, six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb was traded from Philadelphia to Washington.  Washington sent a second-round pick (37th overall) in the 2010 draft and a conditional pick in the 2011 draft to Philly, ending the most successful era in Eagles' football to date.

A non-reported aspect of the trade is that it completely validates the Patriots trade of five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour last year.  The Pats got a first-round pick from Oakland, a team headed for another double-digit loss season, and thus the pick should be in the top 10 of the 2011 draft.

Not only did the Patriots get a lot more for Seymour, but at this point in his career he wasn't nearly the impact player McNabb is.  Richard was at least three years removed from his dominating self, and the last time he was the Patriots best defensive lineman was in 2005.  Before he was injured that year, Seymour was headed for the Hall of Fame; post-injury he was probably just one of the best 75 or so D-linemen in the league -- not bad, but not great.

On the other hand, McNabb has the lowest interception ratio on NFL history, is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and he will be a significant upgrade for Washington at the most important position on the field.  In 2009, the pathetic D.C. entry threw 16 interceptions, with overmatched starter Jason Campbell tossing 15 of them.  In contrast, McNabb hasn't thrown more than 11 picks in any season for a decade.  That's 10 years of superior play replacing a QB who got worse every year.

And since quarterback is (or make that was) one of Washington's areas of greatest need, they are bound to improve from their 4-12 2009 campaign.  It didn't exactly work out that way with Seymour in Oakland -- the 2008 Raiders went 5-11 without Seymour; the 2009 Raiders went 5-11 with him.  With McNabb's pinpoint accuracy, proven skills, and veteran leadership, Washington should at least double their 4-win total from last season, and could even contend for a playoff spot.

Given all that, when Al Davis offered a top-10 pick for an aging defensive lineman who was on the downside of a stellar career, the Patriots would have been remiss not to take the deal.  It would have been different if they were contenders for a Super Bowl last year.  But with 5 new defensive starters and a QB coming back from major knee reconstruction, that was very unlikely.  In fact, their 33-14 playoff drubbing at the hands of the Ravens showed that they were never going to make a deep playoff run in 2009.

So what does all this prove?  That the local media likes to bleat about what a mistake it was to trade Seymour, but in reality it turned out to be a great move.  In fact, if Bill Belichick wasn't such a polarizing figure, the media would be calling the move Auerbach-like, which is the highest praise any local executive can receive.  Instead, it served their purpose to deride the Patriots for "giving up on the season."  They should have been doing is deriding Al Davis for offering too much, all the while acknowledging that the Patriots got the best of a rival -- yet again.

- Scott