Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Jan 2008

Baseball Prospectus Chat Transcript

My chat at BP finished up a little while ago, and if you're interested in talk about the Giants, how the Bears, Dolphins, and Bengals should conduct their offseasons, and which Patriot can best crank dat Soulja Boy, you're advised to check it out.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 18 Jan 2008

23 comments, Last at 23 Jan 2008, 5:16pm by Pat


by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 01/18/2008 - 5:36pm

Be willing to sacrifice one of your draft picks for a veteran QB. McNabb fits here.

I'll say this again: McNabb's been listed as a possible offseason gameplan so many times for multiple teams (Minnesota, Chicago), that I really wonder what those teams are going to do when they find out the only way to get McNabb is to offer a ridiculous package (multiple first round picks) for him.

McNabb's a 2009 issue. How am I so certain? Easy. His signing bonus prorations finish up next year. Trading him away would free up only $3M next year. They can't replace the contribution McNabb will make to the team with $3M unless it comes with a boatload of draft picks.

2009, he frees up $9M if released. If Kolb looks good next year in practice, McNabb'll be traded that offseason.

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 01/18/2008 - 6:21pm


I think you might also be underestimating the locker room issues there. It's not unreasonable to think there could be other forces at work that would affect the equation. I'm not saying there are, but I'm not ruling them out, either.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 01/18/2008 - 10:18pm

(er, by $3M in #1, I really meant $6M. Yeah, I can read.)


Well, it's not unrealistic to imagine that Brady might be available next year. I mean, there could be locker-room issues there, as well. I'm not saying there are, but I'm not ruling them out, either.

Banner's flat out stated that McNabb will be the quarterback next year. His actual statement was "I can't imagine a situation in which Donovan is not our quarterback next year." It doesn't get much stronger than that. McNabb's never said anything which could be construed by a reasonable person as wanting to get out of Philly. Even in the supposed conversation with Pam Oliver (there he was supposedly saying he thinks the Eagles were distancing themselves from him).

2009 is a much more logical choice. Feeley, Kolb, and McNabb are all signed through 2010. Trade McNabb in the 2009 offseason, Kolb can start, and if he lives up to billing, you've got the entire 2009 season and 2010 offseason to resign him before he's playing in a contract year and it gets dicey. Otherwise, Feeley can step in and at least not destroy the team (Hello, Jim McMahon!), and then you look for a QB in 2010, having Feeley as a fallback in case you have to draft a quarterback again (which they probably would do to replace Feeley as backup in any case).

There's absolutely no incentive for the Eagles to trade McNabb unless there's some huge locker room animosity we have no inkling of. Which you could say of pretty much any QB in the league.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 01/18/2008 - 10:43pm

#3 and by Jim I mean Mike. Clearly ,that whole experience rattled my brain.

by Matt Saracen - QB1 - Dillon Panthers (not verified) :: Sat, 01/19/2008 - 12:51am

I hear ya Pat. It would take a BIG, EXPENSIVE deal to move McNabb this offseason IMO. 2 1st rounders and maybe a player/another highish pick.

You are also right about the timing . This is not the time to be trading your Pro Bowl caliber starter, since Kolb hasn't played at all yet. BUT, this may be the time when he has a high trade value and if the Eagles get offered a gigantic sum, they will be very tempted to shift him.

I personally think the Bears should start again at QB - not give up big value for McNabb/Pennington/Anderson. That means drafting a guy on day 1, keeping Orton/Grossman as your clipboard holding perennial benchwarmer and Griese as your 'reliable' veteran.

I liked your idea Bill about a team pursuing Eric Parker - whether it be the Bears or another WR hungry franchise.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Sat, 01/19/2008 - 12:56am

Pat, many many owners have "not been able to imagine" their current coach not coaching the team the next season, and yet many of those coaches have been fired within the month.

by Bill Barnwell :: Sat, 01/19/2008 - 1:39am


Where there's smoke, there's fire. McNabb's been covered in smoke. It's not exactly the same thing as Brady.

by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Sat, 01/19/2008 - 10:10am


Yes, Ben Roethlisberger sucked in the Super Bowl. John Elway also sucked in Super Bowls. Roethlisberger happened to win because Hasselbeck sucked just as badly, but come on.

The Steelers reached the playoffs and the Super Bowl in 2005 because of Roethlisberger, not in spite of him. He was in the top 3-4 in the league in every imaginable rate stat, despite subpar pass blocking. Not only that, but he's been in the league four years now, and has ranked clearly among the best five QBs in the league in three of them, with the 2006 motorcycle/appendix anomaly as the only exception.

Bill, you put out as much high-quality football content as anybody on the planet, but I have to call you out for that. Ben Roethlisberger is not a point in favor of the argument that quarterbacks aren't important, and Trent Dilfer was a singular glitch caused by a defense so great it didn't matter who the quarterback was. Jim McMahon was no great shakes, either.

by Tom D (formerly just Tom) (not verified) :: Sat, 01/19/2008 - 2:36pm

Re 5:

You obviously didn't see Griese play this past year. It is far, far more likely either Grossman or Orton is the starter.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 01/19/2008 - 5:19pm

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. McNabb’s been covered in smoke. It’s not exactly the same thing as Brady.

What are you talking about? There's been nothing talked about locker room problems with McNabb. The only things that've been talked about are that the Eagles supposedly want to move McNabb.

Except everyone's presuming they want to move him for next year, whereas it's obvious if you think about it that they're planning on moving him in 2009, not 2008.

by JeffW (not verified) :: Sat, 01/19/2008 - 7:59pm

"Bill Barnwell (Football):... You can disprove the QB argument, pretty easy, though, by mentioning Trent Dilfer or, more recently, Ben Roethlisberger's Super Bowl abortion."


by bubqr (not verified) :: Sat, 01/19/2008 - 9:07pm

Pat, I have to say that i pretty much agree with Bill in this. I'm less worried by what have been said ( S.Brown calling out the offense(and McNabb)) than by what haven't. When there are such rumours going on, all you need is Runyan, Westy, Andrews, Dawkins, or some other veterans to step up, and clearly state that everything is fin ewith McNabb, that the locker room is behind him, and that he is their leader for next season. Apart from some Westy quotes in the middle of the season, I haven't seen that, and I think it's quite safe to say McNabb ain't got the full locker room support. Now, I think that what you envision Pat is the most probable ending to his stint in Philly.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 01/19/2008 - 11:40pm

Apart from some Westy quotes in the middle of the season, I haven’t seen that

1) Guys can only answer the questions they're asked. The "leaders" in the locker room, from the standpoint of the media, are the ones they interview - and they only interview McNabb and Westbrook regularly. Andrews has supported McNabb fully in the few questions he's been asked ("It's tough being that Donovan has done so much for this team, the organization, the city and the fans, and it's almost like Hollywood and the 'what have you done for me lately' mentality. He has done some great things. We all make mistakes and that is what we are here for, nobody is perfect. We just have to go out there and correct it and hope people stay behind him.").

2) "some Westy quotes in the middle of the season"?

Last game of the season: "It's important for me to have Donovan back. I think he's done a great job these last few weeks just picking it up where he left off before. Of course, he's getting his mobility back and he's playing a lot better. He continues to be a leader in the locker room and on this team. He's someone that people on this team look to when they need help, as well as when they need to be productive in the game."

Second to last game of the season: "A lot of the doubts that have been brought up about him and bad comments that are from outside sources, where as his teammates have continued to support him and know what he can still do as a player. As his teammate that's all you can do, is continue to support him and be confident that he can be the best player that he can be."

Earlier in the season: "Well, you have a guy back there in Donovan McNabb that can do pretty much anything on the football field. When he is 100% healthy, he's Superman he's a guy that can run with the ball and throw it down the field, so you try to lean on him a bit."

I can go back earlier, almost every freaking week, he's asked a question, and he always supports him strongly.

And he's not the only one, either:

Dawkins: "No, that's for you guys to write about and contemplate, which is your job. That's not for us. We go out, we depend on Donovan when he's here, and he's here right now and we expect him to be here next year."

Also Dawkins: On whether the locker room is more behind McNabb now because of all that he has been through: "I don't know if I would say that. I think we've always been strong around him. I don't know if I would say that because he's coming back now everybody's backing him. No, I wouldn't say that. I think we've always been."

See, I see things a little differently than most people who follow sports. I don't read the summary articles of interviews with players. I read the interviews, and I have no idea where this 'locker room acrimony' idea comes from.

by Matt Saracen - QB1 - Dillon Panthers (not verified) :: Sun, 01/20/2008 - 3:58am

Re #13 - Pat: Totally agree the whole thing is a big media beat up. Ever since the draft, the media have been trying to put words into players and coaches mouthes about whether Donovan was finished.

Re #9 - Tom: Yeah I saw Griese play. I was talking purely based on having a 1st day QB on the roster. In that case you ideally want a veteran like Griese (he doesn't have to start) on the roster which would mean Orton/Grossman would have to go. If Orton/Grossman beat Griese and rookie for the starting job, all power to them, but I was more talking about a balanced type of experience mix. Incidentally, DVOA has Orton , Grossman and Griese all around -15 to -16 very little between them this year.

Re #8 & 11 - Roethlisberger is a good QB, but at the time he was definitely not the focus of that Steelers offense. He was used to throw the ball while the opposition were keying on the run, eventually sending the D back leading to the Steelers RBs having more space in the 2nd half. It's a little like Garrard this year (although I'd say Garrard seems to have been a better QB than rookie Big Ben). Critics write off Garrard saying that the Jags are a running team and he is only looking good because of opponents keying on the run. It's a little unfair, but hey that's life.

by Temo (not verified) :: Sun, 01/20/2008 - 6:10am

Mr. Barnwell, I must protest heavily against the selection of a white man as the best "cranker."

by Trev (not verified) :: Sun, 01/20/2008 - 8:10am

For someone who doesn't know that much football, where does the center fit on the "offensive line spectrum"? If it goes LT-RT-LG-RG, where do you put the center?

by Felton (not verified) :: Sun, 01/20/2008 - 11:29am

Bill - interesting point on multiple levels of the NFL. I'd like to see this - take the top 16 teams and that would be the 1st division. Bottom 16 form the 2nd division. Each team plays the other once in 15 games and then one other team in the division for 16 games. 1-8 from the 1st division go to the playoffs as seeds 1-8. 1-4 from the 2nd division go to the playoffs as seeds 9-12 and advance to the 1st division the next year. 9-12 from the 1st division host 5-8 from the 2nd division with the winners in division 1 and the losers in division 2. 13-16 from division 1 fall into division 2.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 01/21/2008 - 3:05am

I had Jordan Gross as the top RT too, but QB not the most important position on the field? Really?

by socctty (not verified) :: Mon, 01/21/2008 - 3:07am

For the record, I remember Pro Football Talk reporting that the Eagles were asking for a Hershel Walker-like THREE first-rounders for McNabb last year. Although I have to think they would have jumped at two 1sts and two 2nds.

by socctty (not verified) :: Mon, 01/21/2008 - 3:10am

16 - I think that depends a lot on the QB. A center for a dynamic QB like Michael Vick probably needs to be very, very smart and capable, because defenses are going to throw all sorts of weird things at them.

I'd rank it LT-LG, and have to think a while about the rest, though.

by JCRODRIGUEZ (not verified) :: Mon, 01/21/2008 - 12:30pm

I hear you, Justin Zeth, to have Big Ben mentioned in the same breath as Trent Dilfer is almost offensive, the data shows that, other than the Big Two, I don't want anybody else right now commanding our offense. I will wait for a written apology.

by Bill Barnwell :: Tue, 01/22/2008 - 9:11pm

You guys misinterpreted my statement, or, alternately, I didn't make it clear enough. I was trying to say that you can win a Super Bowl even if your quarterback has a really crappy Super Bowl. I wasn't saying that Ben Roethlisberger's a Dilfer-esque quarterback, cause he's not.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/23/2008 - 5:16pm

#19: Yeah, I'm not sure how much I'd believe that - but to me, that sounds about right. The Eagles have an ideal quarterback situation right now - a Pro Bowl-level starter, a journeyman backup, and hopefully a future above-average quarterback as well. Obviously, they could afford to weaken that position a bit, but they certainly wouldn't want to. It's not like McNabb + Feeley + Kolb is expensive, or anything. The only reason to trade McNabb is if he doesn't want to be there, and he's shown no signs of that being the case.

And, realistically, it'd be crazy for him to. He's certain to be better next year (with his knee fully recovered), and the Eagles certainly have the capability to be a top team in the NFL in 2008. His stock will be significantly higher next year.

Three first round draft picks is the equivalent of saying "yes, we know this is a bit of an overstocked position on our team, so we're not completely averse to trading him, but we don't want to yet." If I had to guess, if they did make that statement, they did it to gauge who from the rest of the league might be interested in another year.