It’s official.  The Philadelphia Eagles have traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins.  It’s a little surreal to write.  Even in the NFL world where almost anyone can be traded or even cut, it’s tough to believe that Philadelphia would trade their long-time franchise quarterback to their division rival.  The Eagles are slated to receive Washington’s second round pick in this 2010 draft, as well as another third or fourth round pick in 2011.  Not only did the Eagles trade McNabb within the division, but they traded him simply for draft picks.  If nothing else that indicates how serious the Eagles became about turning the page from the McNabb era.

Donovan McNabb has never been the kind of beloved figure that most franchise quarterbacks become.  Especially not when they lead their team to eight playoff appearances, five division titles, five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance over eleven seasons.  Maybe it comes down to just playing in Philadelphia, but for whatever reason McNabb was never accepted by local fans wholeheartedly.  Instead he was often called into question for not elevating the team further or leading them to a championship.  As often happens with NFL quarterbacks, championships become the final measuring stick.

After being a pair for their entire NFL run, Eagles head coach Andy Reid will now have to work without McNabb.  Kevin Kolb has been anointed as the replacement in Philadelphia, although Mike Vick might beg to differ.  For the first time in over a decade, the Eagles yearly quarterback controversy won’t include Donovan McNabb.  That in itself will take some getting used to.  McNabb departs the Eagles with a career 83-45-1 record, the third-best winning percentage among active quarterbacks (behind Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) at .647.

So with McNabb off to Washington to join new Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, the Eagles are left to install third-year pro Kevin Kolb as their new starter.  Kolb was a second-round draft pick out of Houston in 2007, and has played sparingly since.  He did make a pair of starts in 2009, putting up some impressive numbers.  Whether that means that the 25 year-old is ready to run the offense full-time on a contending team remains to be seen.  He’s obviously unproven, but the Eagles must have seen something to warrant trading a player which they (specifically Andy Reid) steadfastly refused to part ways with over the years.

Eagles fans, you got your wish.  Donovan McNabb is gone.  Now you get to wonder if he’s going to come back to haunt you twice a season as a Washington Redskin.

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