Why did the Philadelphia Eagles trade their starting quarterback, Donovan McNabb, to the division rival Washington Redskins? The trade could have been motivated in part to keep Washington from drafting Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.
At least, that’s the theory floated by Adam Schefter of ESPN, who reports that multiple NFL executives firmly believe that the Eagles wanted to block the Redskins from taking Bradford. The executives Schefter talked to say the Eagles are high on Bradford and don’t want to have to play against him twice a year for the next decade.
So the Eagles figured that if they shipped McNabb to Washington and took two draft picks from the Redskins in the process, they’d make the Redskins less likely to want to draft a quarterback and also take away some of the picks the Redskins would have needed to move up and take Bradford.
There’s a perception among many league observers that teams shouldn’t make trades within their divisions because it’s dangerous to strengthen a divisional opponent’s roster. But maybe the Eagles think that what really would have strengthened the Redskins is drafting Bradford.