Some have speculated that the Redskins benched quarterback Donovan McNabb in order to avoid the upgrading of the fourth-round pick they owe the Eagles in 2011 to a third-rounder. There’s a belief that the 2011 selection becomes a third-round pick if McNabb takes at least 70 percent of the snaps.
But the pick bumps up by a round only if McNabb makes the Pro Bowl or if he takes 70 percent of the snaps and the Redskins win nine or more games. With the Redskins already losing eight games, there’s no way they can win nine.
Moreover, McNabb already has likely taken more than 70 percent of the snaps. He already has started and taken all but a few of the snaps in more than 81 percent of the team’s games. Barring an incredibly high number of snaps in the final three games, he’ll be over 70 percent even if he doesn’t take another snap.
That said, the Redskins derive a potential benefit by putting McNabb at third on the depth chart. His new contract contains for 2010 up to $250,000 in per-game roster bonuses that become payable if he’s on the active roster. As the third quarterback, he’s not on the active roster. (We don’t know whether that status changes if he actually plays; we’re checking on it.)
Thus, the Redskins likely will save $31,250 for each game in which McNabb technically is not on the active roster. That’s a grand total of $93,750.
It’s not a ton of money, but it will do nothing to get agent Fletcher Smith to stop search for a word stronger than disrespectful.
UPDATE: NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says that the third quarterback is a member of the active roster. If, however, the Redskins decide not to make McNabb the third quarterback, as the Vikings did on Monday night with Brett Favre, they won’t owe McNabb the money. And that would definitely kill any future relationship between player and team.