So with the news earlier today that Kurt Warner is likely headed out to pasture, there has been speculation a plenty that Donovan McNabb could end up out in Arizona. A number of logical signs point to the Cards as a possible destination with Warner gone:
- Arizona is a team built to win now. They don’t want to struggle with QBs who can’t get the ball to demi-god Larry Fitzgerald. McNabb is not as accurate as Warner, but he would be downright dangerous with deep passes to those weapons. It could be Eagles c. 2004.
- Cardinals management clearly has no problem with older, more injury-risk signal-callers.
- McNabb, who lives in Arizona during the offseason, would probably welcome an extension to stay there long term (as he will want an extension wherever he goes).
The only downsides, as far as I can see:
- The Cards already — in theory — have their QB of the future in Matt Lienart. Maybe its time to hand over the keys.
- I’m sure the Eagles, all things equal, would rather not trade McNabb to a contender in the NFC.
The last point is tough to consider. Obviously it would be great to get the same value from Cleveland or some other team in the AFC, but the Vikings and Cardinals both have reason to get in on this action. To limit trading Donovan to AFC teams (or non-playoff NFC teams) would also destroy the Eagles front office’s ability to get the best possible return. It would be similar to the Blue Jays refusal to trade Roy Halladay to the Yankees or Red Sox — even when those two teams offered by far the best prospect packages. I doubt Andy will be that stupid.
The former point is the more interesting question. We’ll see how Ken Whisenhunt describes Lienart when he’s questioned about Warner’s retirement. If the coach is confident in the backup, he’ll come out strong that Lienart is ready to step in. But remember, Whisenhunt never drafted Lienart — that was Denny Green. And while Lienart played fairly well in the one game he started last year, he didn’t show nearly the type of promise Kevin Kolb displayed in his two starts.
The Verdict: I anticipate the Cardinals will inquire about McNabb. They would be foolish not to considering how well he would fit in. (And no, unlike Adam Caplan, I don’t buy that McNabb can only go to a West Coast Offense.) But ultimately it seems that Lienart will be the guy to step in. He seems like he deserves a shot, especially considering that trying him out won’t cost Arizona their #1 or at least #2 pick.