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Easter Memories: Donovan McNabb Becomes Don Burgundy

In April 2010, Easter Sunday brought Donovan McNabb from Philadelphia to Washington. Has Washington recovered?

Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

On April 5, 2010, the Washington Redskins traded with the Philadelphia Eagles for the services of Donovan McNabb. Like most deals the Redskins have made over the years, this one included—you guessed it—a second-rounder. It would also include either a third- or a fourth-rounder, which ultimately became a fourth-rounder.

Full disclosure—it is Easter Sunday, and I shouldn’t lie—I thought this deal made the Redskins better when they executed the trade. After all, Mike Shanahan was not working with an incredibly full deck. If you recall, our trio of signal-callers that year ended up being Don Burgundy, Rex Grossman and John Beck. I know...I know...John Beck had a great PR man in...ummm, John Beck.

I remember making the comparison to Sonny Jurgensen, another former Philadelphia Eagle who had been traded around the age of 30—and also in April! Looking back, I wish I could punch myself in the face. Does that make you happy Kevin Ewoldt?

Kevin and I interviewed Dan Snyder later that spring and he told us about how excited he had been to get the call on Easter Sunday that the deal had been done. (He claimed to not have known a single thing about the deal, and to not have been involved in the thought process. That later proved to be...slightly untrue.) With Albert Haynesworth running cardiovascular conditioning test runs on the sideline, I saw the McNabb pickup as the addition of some mature veteran leadership on the team. That would later prove to be...untrue.

The Redskins went 6-10 that season, with the former Eagle being benched by Mike Shanahan. This did not prevent Bruce Allen from making good on his promise that McNabb would be the Redskins quarterback “for years.” The deal was as preposterous as it was misguided. I believe it was reported as a five-year pact worth $78 million and $40 million guaranteed. (Is it time to ask the obvious Kirk Cousins question here? No? Okay...we’ll save that for another day.) Thankfully, the contract only truly guaranteed Don Burgundy $3.5 million, and he was gone after a paltry 13 starts, 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions (kind of flows, doesn’t it?).

After the 2011 lockout came to a close, the Redskins were able to trade McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings for a sixth-round pick, which sounds like...well, it sounds like the Redskins figured out a way to lose worse on the deal. EXCEPT that pick became Alfred Morris! It almost makes the deal worthwhile...It almost keeps the whole experience from making me throw up in my mouth. After all, McNabb did go to Philly and bring home a win for the burgundy and gold faithful. But...and I hate to even bring it week 10, there was that little thing called the Monday Night Massacre.

I’d like to think we have come a long way since that Easter Sunday. Outside of the Robert Griffin III debacle, the terrible breakup with a potential Hall of Fame coach, the 3-13 and 4-12 back-to-back seasons (2013 and 2014), a debilitating salary cap penalty and a high school fling with a gifted personnel man, I would say the Redskins are exactly where you would want your team to be. (Is it bad I actually had to pick and choose between some things to keep that sentence from running on for a while?)

Listen, I do actually think we are better off now, and I think our quarterback situation is miles ahead of where we once were. I will refrain from making any “resurrection” analogies, because the fact of the matter is the Redskins have a ways to go before they rise up from the ashes of the multitude of dumpster fires that have raged in this town.

How about this for good news: we have our second round pick this year AND a franchise quarterback under center! Let’s quit while we’re ahead.


Would the Redskins have been better off having never traded for Donovan McNabb?

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