Or at least that’s how it’s looking, and although we could have an answer in less than an hour, the countdown to zero hour for the Donovan McNabb waiver claim could have all the excitement of a New Year’s Eve ball drop, when hours of progressive inebriation quickly fade after the night reaches its climax.
The build-up will be kind of exciting, but then seconds after the deadline for teams to make a claim for McNabb at 4 p.m. ET he’ll realize that nothing’s changed, and he’s still an aging backup at best, and a feeble-armed and weak-legged quarterback set to fade off into the football nether regions at worst.
We’ll likely come to this tale of woe partly because the Cowboys have now officially declared they won’t be making a claim for McNabb, with head coach Jason Garrett making that damning declaration earlier this afternoon. The widespread thought was that McNabb could serve as the ideal veteran backup to Tony Romo, who’s led the Cowboys to four straight wins, but has still had to play through injuries this year after appearing in only six games in 2010 because of a broken collarbone.
More importantly, though, the Cowboys were thought to be motivated to block the Bears, who are currently rolling with Caleb Hanie because of Jay Cutler’s injury, and are the last likely suitors for McNabb. Last week a similar desire to block prompted the Cowboys to put in a claim on Kyle Orton, with Dallas wanting to cripple the Bears and potentially avoid facing Orton in the playoffs.
There’s now a very strong possibility that McNabb will clear waivers entirely. The Colts hold the top waiver priority and could demonstrate to their fans that they haven’t totally given up on the season, but that would be a blatant farce motivated only by a desire to save public face. The Colts need Andrew Luck, and McNabb may actually be an improvement over Curtis Painter/Dan Orlovsky. Maybe.
After the Bears there’s no one, and if he clears waivers McNabb can be claimed by any team at any time. And that could be a problem for our favorite Chunky Soup-loving quarterback, because ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that he “absolutely” doesn’t expect the Bears to show any interest, even post-waivers.
We’re all focused on now, and today, and this year with McNabb, so we’ve lost sight of something else: the end of his career.
McNabb reportedly requested to be released when he was informed that he was behind Joe Webb on Minnesota’s depth chart, and he’d be there for the remainder of the season. To review, over the past two years coaches have decided that Webb, John Beck, Rex Grossman, and rookie Christian Ponder are better than McNabb. So is he even better than Hanie?
Just end it, Donovan.
UPDATE: McNabb wasn’t claimed, meaning the Bears don’t think he’s an upgrade over Hanie, who just made his first start last week. The Texans also passed, indicating that they’re fine with handing the pursuit of the franchise’s first ever playoff berth to rookie fifth-round pick T.J. Yates and/or Jake Delhomme.