So with the Vikings benching quarterback Donovan McNabb for rookie Christian Ponder, what does that mean for McNabb for the rest of 2011, and beyond?
In 2008, the Eagles benched McNabb for the second half of an ugly loss to the Ravens. He started the next game on Thanksgiving night against the Cardinals, sparking the Eagles on a late-season run that ended in the NFC title game, also against the Cardinals. But whispers persisted that McNabb was upset by the benching, with reports that McNabb wanted an explanation and, ultimately, a “financial apology” for the diss. (Eventually, he got one.)
In 2010, the Redskins benched McNabb during the closing moments of a winnable game against the Lions. The financial apology came much sooner that time, hours before a blowout loss to the Eagles on a November Monday night.
This time, there will be no new or revised contract. But McNabb will surely want something.
Perhaps he’ll want his freedom.
Really, if McNabb is going to be a backup, wouldn’t be prefer to be a backup on a contending team? And if there’s another Jason Campbell-style injury to a quarterback on a contending team, McNabb surely would prefer to be one of the options to replace the guy as a starter.
Thus, don’t be shocked if McNabb goes to Leslie Frazier and asks politely for his freedom. And then look for McNabb to ask not so politely if he doesn’t get his way. Given that Frazier was willing to dump ;eft tackle Bryant McKinnie (for which the Ravens are grateful) when McKinnie was going to be a potential distraction during camp, Frazier could decide to do the same thing if there’s any chance Donovan will disrupt the transition of Christian Ponder to the status of starter.
After 2011, it could be that McNabb will be out of NFL options, unless he’s willing to be a backup. He’d more likely choose to begin his long-expected broadcasting career.