When Iggles head coach Andy Reid admitted at the NFL owners meetings late last month that the team was listening to offers for quarterback Donovan McNabb, there was no surprise that a trade would eventually come off.

That the deal would see McNabb traded to a divisional opponent was the real stunner.

The Eagles traded the 33-year-old McNabb to the Redskins for a second-round pick in this year’s draft, and a conditional pick in 2011 that will be either a third- or fourth-rounder based on McNabb’s performance this year.

The deal means there will be two new starters in the NFC East: McNabb with the Redskins and the relatively untested Kevin Kolb with the Eagles. Kolb, a former second-round pick with just two career starts, four touchdowns and seven interceptions, will now become the starter in Philadelphia . His backup will be Michael Vick, who returned last season after a two-year absence stemming from his guilty plea in an illegal dogfighting operation.

“This was a very tough decision,” Reid said. “Donovan McNabb represented everything a football player could be during his 11 seasons in Philadelphia . He carried this organization to new heights and set a high standard of excellence both on and off the field. We thank him for everything he did for this football team and for this city.”

McNabb (pictured) enjoyed a mostly successful career in Philadelphia, leading the team to the Super Bowl after the 2004 season, but failing to win the Eagles first-ever Super Bowl title. The six-time Pro Bowler passed for 32,873 yards, 216 touchdowns and 100 interceptions, helping the Eagles become a perennial playoff team. He is the Eagles’ all-time leader in career wins, pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns.

But he was also the subject of plenty of controversy, from a difficult relationship with volatile receiver Terrell Owens, to his unwitting involvement in a controversy started by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who suggested that McNabb was overrated and that “the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.”

McNabb led the Eagles to five NFC Championship Game appearances, as well as Super Bowl XXXIX, where they were beaten by the Patriots.

McNabb will supplant Jason Campbell as the Redskins’ starter, and Washington may decide not to draft a quarterback with the fourth overall pick. They have shown interest in Oklahoma ’s Sam Bradford and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, but may now decide to draft one of several blue chip offensive tackles to re-stock a line whose latest setback was left tackle Chris Samuels’ injury-related retirement.

Very gutsy move by the Iggles, who have made mostly the right decisions since Andy Reid came to town in 1999. But on this one, we think they're making a mistake. They not only trade McNabb, but they trade him to a divisional opponent that is now infinintely better than they were when this day began.

And to put the Iggles in the hands of Kolb, who was decent in relief of McNabb on a handful of occasions, is a huge risk. If Kolb turns out to be an elite quarterback, then the Iggles will have the last laugh on this one. But he doesn't have nearly the same talent as McNabb, and he'll be under intense pressure in a football town that is as tough as any on its players.

McNabb survived the crucible of Philadelphia with poise and composure, and was among the NFL elite at his position. No, he didn't get the team its first-ever Super Bowl championship, and you can make the argument that perhaps he never would. But you can also argue that he got this team in position year-in and year-out, and that he still had three or four very good years to get them over the hump.

Will Kolb be that guy? Doubt it. And it won't be all that surprising if the Iggles eventually give the ball at some point to Vick, who is anxious to become a starter again.

Either way, the Iggles are not as good as they were with McNabb still on the roster.

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