| News |

Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb trade: Did Josh McDaniels get schooled by the Mastermind?

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Talk about a startling NFL trade: The Eagles sent QB Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins for the 37th pick in this year's draft, plus a third- or fourth-rounder next year.

At first glance, new Redskins coach Mike Shanahan appears to have pulled off one helluva coup. Not only did he manage to get the Eagles to trade within their division -- a rarity at this position -- but he upgraded in a huge way (sorry, Jason Campbell's two fans) without giving up the team's first-round pick this year. Indeed, the price was so low that it makes you wonder why trade talks between the Broncos and the Eagles involving McNabb, which circulated in February, didn't go anywhere.

And why coach Josh McDaniels, Shanahan's successor in Denver, opted for hunky Brady Quinn instead of a proven commodity like McNabb. Aside from ego, that is.

Back in February, ESPN's Amy Lawrence argued that McNabb was a perfect fit for the Broncos shortly after conversations between Denver and Philly had reportedly cooled.

In the weeks that followed, Brady Quinn's name kept popping up more and more often in conjunction with the Broncos. In the end, Denver obtained his services from Cleveland for running back Peyton Hillis, who'd been on McDaniels' shit-list for reasons unclear to pretty much everyone but him, and two draft choices: a sixth rounder in 2011 and a provisional pick the following year.

Quinn's cost wound up being a little lower than what the 'Skins gave up for McNabb, but not a lot.

The likely reasons McDaniels and the Broncos braintrust preferred Quinn to McNabb? Obviously, youth has to be the biggest factor. But there's no guarantee that bodacious Brady will develop into the sort of franchise quarterback the Broncos desperately need.

Not that McDaniels has any doubt. He's brimming with confidence in his ability to transform just about any quarterback into a strong starter after doing the trick with Matt Cassel in New England. (Of course, Cassel didn't set the league on fire after moving to Kansas City last year -- but that's another story.) Presumably, Josh feels that once he lays his magic hands on his new acquisition, Quinn will blossom into a star.

Color us unconvinced.

As for McNabb, he would have given instant credibility to the Broncos this season -- and while he's undeniably on the back-side of his career, he's potentially got quite a few good years left. That's why most NFL observers are currently praising Shanahan for his brilliant maneuver. And why a lot of Broncos fans are probably thinking about what might have been.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.