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Mailbag: McNabb fallout continues

D. from Seattle writes: Hi Sando, I have a question regarding Donovan McNabb and any potential trade. When, if ever, was the last time a veteran QB with as many years in the league as McNabb has, was traded to another team and got them to the playoffs or Super Bowl (preferably with at least one playoff victory)? My point, which is probably pretty obvious, is that trading for a veteran QB rarely takes a team over the top. But I'd love to see the statistical evidence that either refutes or confirms this. Thanks!

Mike Sando: Teams rarely trade good quarterbacks. The Chiefs were already a good team when they acquired Joe Montana before the 1993 season. They had won a playoff game over the Raiders in 1991, their only playoff victory since the 1969 season. They added Montana and immediately won two playoff games, advancing to the AFC title game against Buffalo. Fran Tarkenton was traded from the Vikings to the Giants and back to the Vikings before leading Minnesota to multiple Super Bowls. Those are a couple that come to mind.


Adam from Gettysburg writes: Mike, as a 49ers fan I am very interested in trying to acquire Donovan McNabb. I read your "bold moves" article where you and Matt Williamson discussed this issue. To avoid basically a three-team deal as Williamson suggested, what about this one? The 49ers send the 17th and 49th picks valued at 1,360 points to the Eagles for McNabb, the 24th and the 121st picks. That would put the value of McNabb at around 570 points or the high second round.

Now, I know the 49ers still need a tackle, but maybe one of the top three is there or maybe they could offer the 24th to the Ravens for Jared Gaither, a proven tackle who has a first-round tender? Those two moves would give the 49ers McNabb, Gaither and the 13th overall pick, which they could use on the best player available. I like that approach and it would seem to make everyone very happy -- well, except maybe the Ravens. But it is, in my humble opinion, a very reasonable scenario. Your thoughts?

Mike Sando: These scenarios are a lot of fun to consider. I think we need to remember that this could be a buyers' market for McNabb. The more I thought about the "bold moves" discussion, the more I reminded myself what's going on here. Most or all of the McNabb rumors and reports are originating in Philadelphia. It's pretty clear the Eagles are trying to generate a market.

Reports have suggested the Eagles would want one of the first 42 picks for McNabb? So, what? I'd like to get $20,000 for my 2004 Hyundai. Doesn't mean someone is going to pay. McNabb is an asset to the Eagles right now, but his value diminishes if it becomes clear the team wants to start Kevin Kolb in 2010. The 49ers would not need to rush into anything even though McNabb would benefit from the extra time to get acclimated to a new offense.

So far, of course, the 49ers have shown no apparent interest in McNabb or any other quarterbacks beyond the ones already on their roster.


Hodson from Capo Beach, Calif., writes: Sandman, I love the blog but we gotta get past this idea of getting mcnabb. He is a good quarterback, but not elite. The problem with the Niners has been the o-line, not the qb. Fix the o-line and you win the division. If they traded to get a tackle and McNabb, per your suggestion, he would still get pounded into oblivion and the Niners would have wasted a chance to fill a couple of holes.

Mike Sando: I never said I would make that trade, but I also think there's no sense in suggesting the 49ers would be the same with McNabb or Alex Smith, with all the emphasis on the offensive line.


Ron from Charleston, S.C., writes: There is a lot of talk from different people saying it would be a good idea to get Mcnabb and let Alex Smith go. If you actually look at the whole scenerio, this last season was actually Smith's first or second year. His first year, the 49ers were totally torn apart and they tried to make him fix all of the wreckage. He then missed the next two years. Take a look at Vernon Davis. He finally came around after all of the critics thought he was a bust. Last year was his most complete year and he proved a lot of people wrong. Looking at Alex's stats the last 10.5 games, they were within the better half of the quarterbacks in the leagues. The play-calling was all right, but still too conservative. Mark my word, Alex Smith will lead our team in the right direction. If not us, whereever he goes, he will!

Mike Sando: This is what I meant when I said the 49ers were pot-committed to Smith. They've waited this long and invested this much. Why give up on him just as there's a chance he might finally take that next step? I'm sympathetic to that thinking. But it's definitely tantalizing to think what a proven quarterback could mean to the 49ers.


George from Orlando, Fla., writes: Mike, I love the blog and check 2-3 times a day for my 49ers fix. I find the possibility of the 49ers adding Donovan McNabb very enticing (I grew up in Western NY and am a huge Syracuse fan -- hurting from the loss right now).

I just read your post about the discussion with Matt Williamson and how the 49ers' second-rounder (49th) would not be enough to get the Eagles to bite. What other offers do the Eagles see getting for him? I've seen the reports of the Rams' No. 33 pick being "on the table". If the 49ers packaged the 49th (410 points) and 79th (195) picks, that would equate to between the 30th and 31st picks. If we could get a linemen, Joe Haden/Kyle Wilson and Donovan McNabb, would that securely propel the 49ers to the favorite to win at least the West and possibly a first-round bye with home-field advantage.

Mike Sando: Thanks, George. The Rams are strongly denying any such conversations with the Eagles. I don't think they're heading in that direction. As for what it would take to get McNabb, I'll refer back to what I told Adam. The Eagles appear to be the ones trying to make a sale here. It takes two teams to make a deal.