Yesterday in pro football history

On the 50th anniversary of the Washington Senators’ trade of Roy Sievers, the Washington Redskins acquired Donavan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles. This trade brought to mind another quarterback deal involving the Redskins and the Eagles — the 1964 trade that saw veteran Sonny Jurgensen come to Skins for struggling youngster Norm Snead (two minor defensive players were also involved).
As bad as the Sievers trade made me feel, the acquisition of Jurgensen made me almost that good. I considered it larceny and so it proved to be. Jurgensen put up Hall of Fame numbers for Washington and brought us respectability, while Snead had a mostly mediocre career.
Although McNabb was obtained in exchange for two draft picks (a second rounder this year and either a third or fourth rounder in 2011) rather than another QB, it represents a quarterback swap as far as the Redskins are concerned. For the acquisition of McNabb almost surely means the Skins will trade their incumbent QB Jason Campbell who, though no longer young at 28, has some similarities to Snead when he was here.
Nonetheless, I’m not breaking out the champagne over this deal. For one thing, McNabb will be 34 in November; Jurgensen was only 30 during his first season here.
In addition, it’s simply not clear how much better McNabb is than Campbell at this juncture. Last season, McNabb’s QB rating was 92.9; Campbell’s was 86.4. However, Campbell played behind one of the worst offensive lines I’ve ever seen. He has shown himself capable of a passing rating of at least 92.9 during stretches when he’s had a decent line.
McNabb is said to have “intangibles” that Campbell doesn’t possess. I don’t doubt it. Are those intangibles worth the extra years of wear and tear plus the draft picks? I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude on that question.

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