Twice in the last two weeks Donovan McNabb and the Minnesota Vikings have been linked as potential dance partners for the 2011 NFL season.
The Vikings are indeed one of the teams interested in McNabb, according to two people with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity. But obviously, no deal could be made until there is a new collective bargaining agreement.
One league source said none of the teams interested in McNabb is expected to want to offer much for the 34-year-old quarterback, not because they doubt his skills but because the Redskins already tipped their hand that McNabb doesn’t have a future in Washington.
It’s believed that whenever the lockout ends, the Redskins will have to cooperate with the McNabb on a destination because it is expected that they will have to get him to rework the contract he signed last November.
If McNabb is still on Washington’s roster the day after the first regular season game, the Redskins would have to decide whether to pick up the $10 million option on his contract. His base salary for 2011 would be $1.75 million, but if he is on the 53-man squad the entire season, McNabb could receive a total of $12.75 million.
It is believed that McNabb would be willing to give back the $3.5 signing bonus he received last fall in exchange for his release.
Asked on Saturday if the Redskins had made a decision on how they would resolve McNabb’s situation, general manager Bruce Allen said “we have not,” and added that the lockout prevented them from acting anyway.
Coach Mike Shanahan said in February that the team hoped to address McNabb’s future soon after the draft, that deadline being flexible because of the uncertainty of the NFL labor dispute.
The Redskins possibly could have slight leverage because they don’t have to make a final decision until the day after the opening game. But it probably wouldn’t serve them well to have that distraction hanging over them during training camp, and any team that wanted McNabb would prefer to have him in camp with them.
Minnesota had been linked to McNabb even before Washington traded for him last Easter because Brad Childress, his former quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, was head coach of the Vikings and ran the same offense. Childress was fired mid-season, however, and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier succeeded him. It’s unclear as to whether McNabb still has a mutual interest in the Vikings.