The news that the Washington Redskins have benched Donovan McNabb for journeyman Rex Grossman is sending a shockwave throughout the Redskins fanbase. However, this decision has much larger consequences than a meaningless December game against the Dallas Cowboys.
It could also be a signal that McNabb's time in Washington is coming toward a close. The benching of the former Philadelphia Eagles star, along with his extremely tenuous contract reduce the chances that McNabb will be suiting up for the Redskins anytime in the near future.
McNabb's recently signed extension does not guarantee him a place on the Redskins next year, but gives the Redskins the option of activating the contract if they so choose. The Redskins essentially will pay McNabb 3.75 million up front for the option of paying him 10 million dollars between the end of regular season play this year and the start of next year's regular season. If they pay McNabb that 10 million, it would activate the full five-year 70 million dollar contract, which could rise to upwards of 78.5 million depending on incentives.
But why pay a quarterback 10 million who can't play all 16 games of the regular season even when healthy? Benching a quarterback of McNabb's stature and leaving him in flux regarding his future with the team leaves a very clear impression that the Redskins are prepared to face a future without him.