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Top six teams that need McNabb

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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He has covered the NFL for the past 18 seasons as a beat writer and is the former president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also is a frequent host on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

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Donovan McNabb is one of the most polarizing figures in Philadelphia sports history.

Now that he's officially on the trading block, McNabb is eliciting the same "love him or hate him" response from other fans whose favorite team could -- or maybe should -- seek a quarterback upgrade.

McNabb's availability has triggered talk in Minnesota and San Francisco that he might be a better long-term option than Brett Favre and Alex Smith respectively. Oakland, Buffalo and St. Louis would instantly regain NFL credibility by acquiring one of the past decade's most successful signal-callers. And the jury is still out in Philadelphia, where a McNabb return remains unlikely but still possible if trade compensation doesn't match what the Eagles are seeking.

Here is a look at the top six potential landing spots for McNabb in 2010:

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Pros: The Vikings are the top Super Bowl contender with a question mark at quarterback because of Favre's uncertain playing status for 2010. McNabb would stabilize the position in Minnesota for more than a season-by-season basis. The Vikings are McNabb's preferred destination if he is traded, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. McNabb has familiarity with Vikings coach Brad Childress' offense from when both were with the Eagles.

Cons: The Vikings really, really like Favre and remain steadfast in hopes that he will return for one more season. Minnesota brass also may believe Tarvaris Jackson can be a quality starter who is younger and cheaper than what McNabb would cost.

Trade outlook: Poor. It doesn't seem the Vikings want to veer from the Favre road or try forcing his hand about his NFL future at this point in the offseason.

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Pros: The Raiders have soured enough on underachieving JaMarcus Russell that he will have to compete with journeyman Bruce Gradkowski for a starting spot in training camp. Russell is set to collect almost $19 million in base salary over the next two seasons. The Raiders could cut ties and use that money toward a McNabb contract extension. Even for a franchise as dysfunctional as the Raiders, McNabb would make Oakland a legitimate playoff contender.

POLL

  • Which team will start Donovan McNabb at QB in 2010?
    • Eagles
    • Vikings
    • Rams
    • Raiders
    • Bills
    • 49ers


Cons: McNabb is accustomed to stability, having played for the same team under the same head coach (Andy Reid) since entering the NFL in 1999. In that span, Oakland has gone through six head coaches and more than a half-dozen different starting quarterbacks. If traded to Oakland, McNabb may do his best to make it a one-year stop. The Raiders also are reportedly considering other veterans who wouldn't require as much trade compensation. The National Football Post reported Sunday that Oakland has held internal discussions about making a run at Vikings reserve Sage Rosenfels.

Trade outlook: So-so. As evidenced by last summer's deal that netted five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour from New England, Raiders owner Al Davis remains unafraid to make a bold move. Oakland probably wouldn't trade its 2010 first-round pick (No. 8 overall) and already has shipped its 2011 first-rounder to the Patriots. But a 2010 second-round selection (39th overall) might seal a deal.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Pros: Quarterback may be the last missing piece San Francisco needs to knock Arizona from NFC West supremacy. McNabb would feel good knowing he has a solid starting running back (Frank Gore), standout tight end (Vernon Davis) and quality young receivers to work with. Alex Smith is entering the final year of his contract.

Cons: Instability in San Francisco's front office may make it difficult for the 49ers to swing a trade of this magnitude. The club doesn't have a general manager after recently relieving Scot McCloughan of his duties. San Francisco seems committed to Smith, who finally started showing signs of life last season five years after being the NFL's No. 1 overall draft pick.

Trade outlook: Poor. Trent Baalke, who is heading San Francisco's draft, told 49ers media on Friday that the team was "very comfortable with where we're at" regarding its quarterbacks.

BUFFALO BILLS

Pros: McNabb would provide the quarterbacking stability sorely lacking since the Doug Flutie days of the late 1990s. He also would sell tickets. That is a major challenge for a team coming off a decade without a playoff appearance and no offseason buzz following the hiring of Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix as head coach and general manager respectively.

Cons: The Bills are preaching a "build through the draft" philosophy, which means a 33-year-old quarterback may not fit in their plans. Like with Oakland, Buffalo is the kind of downtrodden franchise where McNabb may not want to stay long-term. The Bills could acquire McNabb and label him a franchise player next offseason to guarantee his services, but that is a risk with the Collective Bargaining Agreement potentially changing in 2011. Even if the system remains similar, the 2011 franchise salary for a quarterback will approach $20 million should Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady sign contract extensions with their respective teams as expected this offseason. That's an extremely high one-season figure for a small-market franchise like the Bills.

Trade outlook: So-so. The Bills don't appear to be a serious player at this point, but that could change if the team feels it can't adequately address quarterback in the draft.

ST. LOUIS RAMS

Pros: The lowly Rams would land a proven commodity in McNabb and could then use the draft's No. 1 pick on a player besides Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. Like with Minnesota, McNabb would be an instant fit in the Rams' offense from having coordinator Pat Shurmur as his quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia.

Cons: St. Louis may be more appealing to McNabb than Buffalo or Oakland, but not by much. The Rams have won six games in three years and are facing an uncertain ownership situation. St. Louis also is bereft of standout skill-position players besides running back Stephen Jackson.

Trade outlook:
So-so. The Rams haven't gotten involved in serious trade talks for McNabb so far. That may change if St. Louis isn't sold on Bradford after Monday's pro-day workout. With the first pick of the second round (No. 33), the Rams could present Philadelphia with the most appealing trade compensation.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Andy Reid

Andy Reid is the only head coach Donovan McNabb has ever known in the NFL, but a divorce seems imminent.
Jim McIsaac


Pros: McNabb was never demanding a trade in the first place. He could return for one more year as a starter before being set to hit unrestricted free agency. The 2010 Eagles then wouldn't have to go through the inevitable growing pains that would develop in Kevin Kolb's first season as a starter.

Cons: McNabb is a consistent winner, but he may not have what it takes to lead Philadelphia to a Lombardi Trophy. Kolb, 25, has more upside and showed he is ready for action with 300-yard passing performances in his two starts last season. The Eagles won't have another chance to receive trade compensation for McNabb, who doesn't fit into their long-term plans.

Trade outlook: Excellent. For the first time in his Eagles coaching tenure, Reid is ready to part ways with McNabb. After all that has transpired already, a McNabb return would create too much drama. With McNabb due a $6.2 million roster bonus on May 5, expect Philadelphia to deal him before the draft.

CAUSE AND EFFECT

The NFL has adopted a rule barring a defensive player from having any part of his body aligned over the long snapper on field-goal and extra-point attempts. This expands a 2006 rule change that banned defensive players from aligning themselves head-up with the long snapper.

The cause: The NFL wanted to better protect long snappers from concussions and head/neck trauma. Those players are defenseless when bowing to snap.

The effect: A lot of happy long snappers, including Chicago's Patrick Mannelly. A 12-year NFL veteran, Mannelly now hopes to avoid injuries that he once felt were par for the course at the position. "Once or twice a year, I'll get hit in the back of the head and go completely black for a second or two," Mannelly told me and co-host Jim Miller on Sirius NFL Radio. "I just felt like that was part of what my job was, but I'm glad (the NFL) is taking the initiative to try and get rid of that. About four years ago before they put in the other rule, my neck would be raw by the end of the season. I didn't know how much longer I could take it. Hopefully, I can play a little bit longer and have a much better neck when I'm retired."

THE BUZZ

NFL DRAFT RANKINGS

 
Sam Bradford
Who are scouts drooling for this offseason? Check Scout.com's top 20 draft prospects.
 
Agent Tom Condon usually represents the first quarterback taken in the draft. 2010 shouldn't be any different. Condon will be among the swarm of NFL coaches and personnel evaluators expected Monday at Bradford's pro day on the University of Oklahoma campus. Condon said Bradford was medically cleared three weeks ago from last fall's shoulder surgery. Bradford has resumed his weight-lifting routine, including overhead exercises, and can throw "as much as he wants," Condon said. "He's throwing 100 balls a day. I told him, 'Hey, do you want to take it easy a little?' He said, 'No, I don't." …

During a Sunday Sirius NFL Radio interview, I asked Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer for the trade value of Eagles third-string quarterback Mike Vick. McLane's response: "A bag of (footballs)." The likelihood of Vick returning to the Eagles in 2010 seems much greater if McNabb is traded. Philadelphia also would have to look at extending Kolb's contract. Kolb is set to earn only $550,000 in 2010, which is the final year of his rookie deal.

WEEK IN REVIEW

Big winner: Roger Goodell. His support among NFL owners was evident last week when teams approved the new playoff overtime format Goodell had pushed. Entering the league meetings, it didn't appear the measure had enough backing after being introduced just days earlier by the NFL competition committee. The passage also was a sobering reminder to ego-filled NFL coaches about who truly has the juice in this league. The owners held the vote without the coaches in attendance.

Big loser: Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben was called out by Goodell last Monday following a second accusation of sexual misconduct within the past two years. Roethlisberger also won't be reporting for offseason workouts Monday with his teammates in light of the ongoing investigation in Milledgeville, Ga. Roethlisberger will have to surface eventually for a meeting that Goodell says will take place "at the appropriate time."

Under-the-radar move: Cincinnati was the big winner when the NFL announced its 2010 compensatory picks. The Bengals received extra third- and fourth-round selections for the 2009 loss of free agents T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Seattle) and Stacy Andrews (Philadelphia). That gives the Bengals nine picks in what is considered an extremely deep draft class.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS WEEK'S CALENDAR

Monday (March 29): Sam Bradford, possibly the No. 1 QB prospect in the draft, works out solo at the University of Oklahoma pro day in Norman as he continues his recovery from shoulder surgery.

Wednesday (March 31):
University of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and other Longhorns draft prospects -- including projected first-rounders Sergio Kindle and Earl Thomas -- will hold their on-campus pro day in Austin.

Friday (April 2): The Arena League season opens with a live telecast on NFL Network. Oh, sorry: This is supposed to be a highlights section.

Saturday (April 3): Two mullets celebrate birthdays -- me and Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen.
Tagged: Raiders, Vikings, Eagles, 49ers, Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Alex Smith, Alex Smith

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