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Inside The War Room: Eagles Trading Donovan McNabb To Washington


It is not every day that a player is traded within a team’s own division. It is also not every day that a player of Donovan McNabb’s caliber is traded within a team’s own division; however, this is exactly what the Philadelphia Eagles did when they decided to trade McNabb to Washington for two picks. Former Philadelphia Eagles Team President Joe Banner takes us through what the thought process was behind this trade. 

“Donovan was somebody we still thought was playing well, and we still thought had some time that he was gonna play well. We did think he was probably within a few years of that natural cost of aging takes on all of us,” Banner explains. 

Banner further adds how the Eagles already had Michael Vick who then head coach Andy Reid was developing an offense around—the change was from a west coast offense to more of a spread offense. It just seemed like McNabb’s time as an Eagle was coming to an end. 

“We weren’t afraid about trading him in the division. We were solely focused on what was the maximum compensation we could get and how much it could help the team. Our view was if we’re making a trade and we think the other side is getting the better of the deal, we should make it.” Banner goes on to explain that if there is a trade that his team would be on the “winning side of,” then why should it matter if it’s within the division? If the trade is making your team that much better while weakening a divisional opponent, then that’s certainly an opportunity that needs to be pounced on while the iron is hot. 

Banner was quite surprised at McNabb’s lack of success in Washington considering how highly Philadelphia still thought of him. He later reflects on what McNabb meant to the Eagles during his tenure under center with labels such as “the best QB in his draft class” and “one of the better draft picks in Eagles history” during Banner’s term with Philadelphia. 

In reference to the Dolphins trading DeVante Parker to the divisional rival New England Patriots, Banner has this to say: “The moving of a player in a division, in this case, I don’t think should scare them. They should just feel good about what they got compared to what else they were offered and move on.” In a time period where teams aren’t necessarily willing to deal players within their division, Banner makes it clear that it shouldn’t matter as long as the team is taking the best offer on the table.