The good news for Donovan McNabb is that the Redskins have not retired No. 5. (Only Sammy Baugh’s 33 has been permanently set aside.) The bad news is that Colt Brennan currently has the rights to the number that McNabb has worn throughout his career in the NFL and at Syracuse.
It remains to be seen whether Brennan gives up the jersey voluntarily, whether the team tells him to surrender it, or whether McNabb makes a tangible offer in order to wrest the number free.
Coincidentally, Redskins running back Clinton Portis was sued by former teammate Ifeanyi Ohalete in 2005 after Portis allegedly failed to pay the balance due on the $40,000 payment that Portis promised when Ohalete coughed up No. 26 after Portis arrived via trade from Denver. Portis apparently welshed because Ohalete had been cut after the first installment of $20,000 was made and before the next payment was due.
In this case, the transition should be simple. Brennan wore No. 15 at Hawaii, but when Brennan arrived in D.C., No. 15 already belonged to Todd Collins, who was cut in early March.