Not even a fantastic finish to the NCAA tournament (sigh, congrats, Duke) could trump the football news in D.C. So Daniel Snyder has done it to you guys again, huh, Redskins fans? Quirky guy, he is. After he leaves your heads drooped low to close the season, he vows he’s a changed man. Provides the impression he’s going to start doing things the basic way rather than the flamboyant way. He flushes the remains of a wasted season and hires a couple of guys with some serious football knowledge.

He lets them take the reins to the team. Washington signs a couple of serviceable free agents so now you’re thinking your ‘Skins are going to get back to the basics next year. You have dreams of drafting the top-rated offensive tackle in the draft in Russell Okung to further push this “getting back to basics” movement and then BOOM! ‘Skins trade for Donovan McNabb and now it’s “forget the basics, let’s get this Super Bowl,” basically.

Deion Sanders, Jeff George, Clinton Portis, Albert Haynesworth, FedEx Field, Marty Schottenheimer, etc.  Just face it: Snyder has a knack for spending his money dramatically. There are few men in the world who can twist your expectations from a 5-11 season to 11-5 season quicker than a Redskins’ three-and-out. Just when you thought you were going to sell your midfield seats, he reels you back in. Now look at you; you have no choice but to re-up on your season tickets.

What? You mean to tell me you’re not going to go see McNabb play? One of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the last 10 years and you’re not going to go witness that first hand? Yeah, right. Sure, he’s never won a Super Bowl and he’s encountered more hatred from D.C. than Mayor Adrian Fenty, but when you think of top 10 quarterbacks, McNabb’s numbers force him into that discussion.

His intangibles from a public relations standpoint make him ideal for a quarterback-starved city. He’s charismatic, likeable, professional and a damn good football player. From a PR standpoint alone, this was a great trade. It’ll make Washington a prime time television attraction again after a season that was sure to reduce them to the bright lights of local networks. 

McNabb’s presence along with Snyder’s checkbook will surely make Washington a desired destination for talented wide receivers who want to get paid (hello, Brandon Marshall). Add in the jersey sales, Campbell’s Soup commercials and followers that McNabb will bring and the Redskins are set to vault to the top of popularity among NFL teams again.

Washington’s still not done yet, however. The defense is solid and running backs are plenty and deep, but a battered offensive line needs mending and Okung could help immediately if Detroit doesn’t snatch him up. The receiver corps could use a Marshall to upgrade the unit and if I’m Snyder (who I often wish I was on Friday and Saturday club nights) then I go all in and trade next year’s second round pick to Denver and snag the 25-year-old Pro Bowler. The last time Marshall was on FedEx Field, he snagged five catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Yeah, I’d give up a second rounder and my Heath Shuler jersey to see McNabb to Marshall on Sundays.

An offseason coup of McNabb and possibly Okung and Marshall would set the city on fire and have ‘Skins fans dancing in the streets. And just think, you had your head drooped low just a couple of months ago. Shame on you.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO