A year ago, the big trade in the NFL off season was when the Denver Broncos traded Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears for two first round draft picks, Kyle Orton and a third rounder. This year, the trade of the offseason happened when the Philadelphia Eagles sent perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb to the rival Washington Redskins.
Trades aren’t as common in the NFL as they are in other major professional sports; especially when it involves a star quarterback.
Which trade was bigger news? Which Pro Bowl caliber quarterback will have a bigger impact on his teams’ division games and overall record?
For a team as quarterback starved as the Bears, landing Jay Cutler was a surreal moment. The trade rumors were circling around the big armed, Vanderbilt product for weeks. However, The Bears’ name was thrown in as an afterthought when discussing teams interested in trading for the three year pro.
So when the Bears did bring Cutler to the Windy City, the Windy City welcomed him with open arms, and even wider expectations.
The story was front page news for weeks. The Bears were the talk of the league, even more so than when they played in Super Bowl XLI. It didn’t matter that two first round picks were given up in the trade, the team known for defense and running the ball finally had a quarterback.
Like the Bears, the Washington Redskins were the dark horse team to win the ‘quarterback on the trading block’ sweepstakes. Most knew that McNabb would be traded before the 2010 season would begin, but never would we believe that the Eagles would send the six time Pro Bowler to a division rival.
The Eagles have instantly switched places with the Redskins for best and worst quarterbacks within the division.
Giving up the 37th pick in this year’s draft and either a third or fourth next year, seems like a deal for a team heading into next season with quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Bears cast off Rex Grossman. Furthermore, the chance for McNabb to play his former team at least twice a year and for him to have the opportunity to maybe derail the Eagles playoff hopes late in a season are priceless. In arguably the toughest division in football, NFC East, any edge over an opponent is invaluable.
Both quarterbacks enter divisions with good single callers under center. In order for the Bears and Redskins to keep up in the division races, it was imperative for them to also have a star quarterback.
So looking at both trades, it seems the Bears and the Redskins did the right thing in bettering their teams. But which quarterback will help his team win a Super Bowl quicker? Who will be a Pro Bowler with his new team first? Only time will tell…..