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Donovan McNabb

Revisiting the McNabb and Cutler Trades

I wasn’t a fan of the Donovan McNabb trade from the start, but Washington’s turnover-riddled win over Chicago brings to mind how much better off they are with that deal vs. the rumored Jay Cutler deal of 2009. Let’s recap the terms:

What the Skins gave up for McNabb: a 2010 second-rounder (37th overall) and either a third- or fourth-rounder in 2011.

What the Bears gave up for Cutler: Kyle Orton, first-rounders in 2009 (18th overall) and 2010 (22nd) and a third-rounder (84th) in 2009.

Obviously, Chicago gave up a hell of a lot more for Cutler than Washington did for McNabb. Two first-rounders? For the Skins, those turned out to be franchise cornerstones Brian Orakpo and Trent Williams.

But how have McNabb and Cutler performed? Let’s take a look:

McNabb with Washington: seven games (4-3), 76 rating, 7.1 yards/pass, six TD, seven INT, three fumbles (zero lost).

Cutler with Chicago: 22 games (10-12), 79 rating, 7.0 yards/pass, 34 TD, 33 INT, 15 fumbles (four lost).

The performances here are pretty similar, which is to say they’re similarly shitty, but what’s in McNabb’s favor is the small sample size. You’ve got to think, or at least hope, that he’ll bounce back to his Philly playing ways.

Regardless, Washington would be in a much deeper hole had Vinny Cerrato succeeded in swinging a deal for Cutler two years ago. Thankfully, he failed at failing. It was probably the best thing he ever did.

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. Dustin Fox

    October 27, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    That might be the closest we’ll ever see to Mottram McNabb love! But, if he keeps playing like this I’ll have to eat my words. He keeps saying week to week how the offense is “about to explode.” ENOUGH! Stop talking and play at a high level like Snyder’s paying you to play.

  2. Jamie Mottram

    October 27, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Imagine how lovely I’d be if he was actually playing well!

  3. mattymatty2000

    October 27, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Isn’t that kind of a false comparison? I mean, its not like the Redskins were required to trade for one of them.

  4. Jamie Mottram

    October 27, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    Correct, and I’d rather they didn’t. But they did, and all I’m saying is they’re lucky it was for McNabb and not Cutler.

  5. illformula

    October 27, 2010 at 10:43 PM


    The most significant difference between the two is that a trade for Cutler would have been an attempt at acquiring a franchise QB, while the McNabb move is simply a stop gap – who’s established and provides some much needed leadership – while the Skins search/wait for a franchise QB.

    Assuming the Skins resign McNabb, I’d fully expect them to use an early draft pick on a QB in the next two years. I don’t know if you can say with certainty that would be the case if Cutler was here (even considering his inconsistent numbers).

  6. Kevin

    October 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    You will see in Washington what Eagles fans have seen for ten years. McNabb is so inconsistent it will drive you nuts. He make some great throws followed by 5 passes into the dirt or over the receiver’s head. Add that to the fact that he is on the down side of his career and the Redskins offense is not that good, and you will understand the frustration with McNabb. He might not have cost much, but then again, at this point, he is not worth much.

  7. Max

    October 28, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Look…if Redskin fans had HONESTLY followed McNabb in Philly, you know the guy throws a lot of junk. The issues with McNabb and his inability to throw on target started with the torn ACL in 2006. He never, in my opinion, recovered from this injury and he cannot plant and deliver the ball in the same way since the replacement. So…McNabb, ever since this injury, has had a history or overthrowing receivers, throwing balls at receivers feet, and not being able drive the ball directly into the receiver’s chest…like he USED to do. McNabb is one of those guys who throws so many passes in a game, his completions to interceptions looks impressive…but 80% of those throws in Philly were two yard to five yard dunks to a running back. He is a has-been guy who, unfortunately, had a serious injury hamper what was shaping up to be an incredible career. Don’t get me wrong, as a die hard Eagles fan, I loved him when he was productive, but it was his time to go. Now, the Redskins have what I consider to be a solid, but not terrific McNabb. Is he better than Campbell? Oh heck yes!! Is he going to explode your offense….NOPE!

  8. DocJay

    October 28, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    Would philly’s record be better with McNabb this year than Kolb/Vick….. Probably. Regardless, the point of the article is not whether McNabb is good now or was in 06, its that if we had grabbed Cutler we wouldnt have Orakpo or Williams, instead we missed out on Nate Allen(not that we would have picked him) or anyone of the next 5 picks. I am ok with that. And with our history with 2nd round picks, McNabb is much better than what we could have ended up with.

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