McNabb Trade Could Cost Clausen Millions

Former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen saw his draft stock potentially tumble on Sunday through no fault of his own.  When the Washington Redskins pulled off the blockbuster trade for Donovan McNabb, Clausen went from almost a lock for the top 10 with a big money contract, to a draft day question mark.

The trade of Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins could potentially cost former Irish QB Jimmy Clausen millions in his first contract.  (Photo - IconSMI)
The trade of Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins could potentially cost former Irish QB Jimmy Clausen millions in his first contract. (Photo - IconSMI)

Before Sunday it was widely believed that Clausen was going to be selected 4th overall by the quarterback needy Redskins.  Now that the Redskins made the move for McNabb, they will likely address their paper thin offensive line which could lead to a Brady Quinn-esque draft day free fall for Clausen.

In looking at the first round, there are plenty of teams in need of quarterbacks, but most have greater needs elsewhere on their team and might not be inclined to invest big money into a first round quarterback.  The new options for Clausen could be Kansas City (#5), Seattle (#6 and 14), Cleveland (#7), Oakland (#8), Buffalo (#9), Jacksonville (#10), San Francisco (#13 and 17), Arizona (#26), or Minnesota (#30).

Kansas City would make sense only because of the Charlie Weis connection.  Otherwise, they just invested a lot of money into Matt Cassel last off-season and have many more pressing needs.  ESPN’s John Calyton mentioned Kansas City as a possible destination for Clausen though.

Seattle is an intriguing possibility with Pete Carroll taking over in the Emerald City in January.  I can’t see the Seahawks taking Clausen 6th after making a move for Charlie Whitehurst a few weeks ago, but if he is still available when they pick at 14 it would make sense.  Matt Hasselbeck aging and while they gave Whitehurst a decent sized contract, he only cost them a third round pick.

Cleveland just shipped Brady Quinn out of town a few weeks ago and under new management with Mike Holmgren serving as the new team president and Tom Heckert taking over the GM role in Cleveland.  The Browns brought in Jake Delhomme and traded for Seneca Wallace this off-season already and Holmgren is on record saying he wished he liked Clausen more.

Oakland took Jamarucs Russell #1 overall just three years ago.   They appear ready to pull the plug after being mentioned as a suitor for McNabb before the Redskins got him, but Clausen’s game doesn’t really fit with Al Davis’s love of big arms and down-field passing.   Never use logic when trying to predict what Al Davis may or may not do though.

Buffalo looks like the most likely spot.  The Bills have showed interest in Clausen and haven’t had a stable quarterback since the days of Jim Kelly.   Clausen should be able to handle the cold in Buffalo just fine after playing in South Bend the last three years.  The Bills are to Clausen what the Dolphins were to Quinn in 2007.  If the Bills pass on Clausen at 9 just as the Dolphins passed on Quinn in favor of Ted Ginn, all bets are off as to where Clausen ends up.

Jacksonville could be in the market for a quarterback in this draft after Jack del Rio stated that he thought they needed to get better at the position.  San Francisco has two first rounds picks, but seem to be OK with the idea of Alex Smith as their quarterback of the future based on the flashes he showed last season.

Arizona lost Kurt Warner to retirement and are left with Matt Leinart and free agent pickup Derek Anderson.  Neither are sure bets to be able to replace Warner’s production, but they seem more likely to draft a wide receiver to replace Anquan Boldin.

Minnesota could be an interesting landing spot for Clausen.  Even if Brett Favre plays in 2010, he would be a major question mark for the 2011 season at his age.  The Vikings are  a team built to contend for a few years with the right quarterback.  While a fall to 30th would be devastating to Clausen’s checkbook, it would put him in a position where he might not be forced to start early and would be set up with a ton of talent around him.

No matter where Clausen ends, the financial impact of the Redskins trading for McNabb and taking themselves out of the market for a quarterback in the first will be substantial.  In 2009, the #4 overall pick – Aaron Curry of the Seahawks – signed a 6 year, $60 million contract with $34 million guaranteed.  The 11th overall pick – Aaron Maybin of the Bills – signed a 5 year, $25 million contract with $15 million guaranteed.  If the numbers are similar in 2010, a fall out of the top 10 from the 4th position would cost Clausen almost $20 million in guaranteed money.

Last year, three quarterbacks went in the first round – Matthew Staff (#1 – Detroit), Mark Sanchez (#5 -New York Jets), and Josh Freeman (#17 – Tampa).  The difference in contract size from Stafford to Freeman was $36 million overall and $31.25 million guaranteed.

Here’s a look at the contracts of all of the 2009 1st round picks to illustrate the vast difference in the size of the contracts.

  1. Matthew Stafford – QB – Detroit – 6 years, $72 million ($41.7M guaranteed)
  2. Jason Smith – OT – St. Louis – 5 years, $61.775 million ($33M guaranteed)
  3. Tyson Jackson – DE – Kansas City – 5 years, $57 million ($31M guaranteed)
  4. Aaron Curry – LB – Seattle – 6 years, $60 million ($34M guaranteed)
  5. Mark Sanchez – QB – N.Y. Jets – 5 years, $60 million ($28M guaranteed)
  6. Andre Smith – OT – Cincinnati – 4 years, $26 million ($21M guaranteed)
  7. Darrius Heyward-Bey – WR – Oakland – 5 years, $38.25 million ($23.5M guaranteed)
  8. Eugene Monroe – OT – Jacksonville – 5 years, $35.4 million ($19.2M guaranteed)
  9. B.J. Raji – DT – Green Bay – 5 years, $28.5 million ($18M guaranteed)
  10. Michael Crabtree – WR – San Francisco – 6 years, $40 million ($17M guaranteed)
  11. Aaron Maybin – DE – Buffalo – 5 years, $25 million ($15M guaranteed)
  12. Knowshon Moreno – RB – Denver – 5 years, $23 million ($13M guaranteed)
  13. Brian Orakpo – DE – Washington – 5 years, $20 million ($12.1M guaranteed)
  14. Malcolm Jenkins – CB – New Orleans – 5 years, up to $19 million ($11M guaranteed)
  15. Brian Cushing – LB – Houston – 5 years, $18 million ($10.435M guaranteed)
  16. Larry English – DE – San Diego – 5 years, $17.8 million ($9.9M guaranteed)
  17. Josh Freeman – QB – Tampa Bay – 5 years, $36 million (10.25M guaranteed)
  18. Robert Ayers – LB – Denver – 5 years, $15.5 million ($9.7M guaranteed)
  19. Jeremy Maclin – WR – Philadelphia – 5 years, $15.5 million ($9.5M guaranteed)
  20. Brandon Pettigrew – TE – Detroit – 5 years, $14.6 million ($9.4M guaranteed)
  21. Alex Mack – C – Cleveland – 5 years, $15 million ($8.3M guaranteed)
  22. Percy Harvin – WR – Minnesota – 5 years, $14.25 million ($8.4M guaranteed)
  23. Michael Oher – OT – Baltimore – 5 years, $13 million ($7.82M guaranteed)
  24. Peria Jerry – DT – Atlanta – 5 years, $13.25 million ($7.55M guaranteed)
  25. Vontae Davis – CB – Miami – 5 years, $13.3 million ($7.35M guaranteed)
  26. Clay Matthews – LB – Green Bay – 5 years, $13.2 million ($7.1M guaranteed)
  27. Donald Brown – RB – Indianapolis – 5 years, $12.835 million ($6.845M guaranteed)
  28. Eric Wood – C – Buffalo – 5 years, $13 million ($6.5M guaranteed)
  29. Hakeem Nicks – WR – N.Y. Giants – 5 years, $12.54 million ($6M guaranteed)
  30. Kenny Britt – WR – Tennessee – 5 years, $12.25 million ($6.5M guaranteed)
  31. Chris Wells – RB – Arizona – 5 years, $11.8 million ($6.345M guaranteed)
  32. Evander Hood – DT – Pittsburgh – 5 years, $11.3 million ($6.1M guaranteed)

Hopefully for Clausen, he ends up in Buffalo and doesn’t experience the same draft day fall that Quinn experienced in 2007.

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  1. so I hope he ends up on the Cardinals! To the guy who wrote this up, you do realize Clausen barely ever played a game in the cold in his career at ND. The one time it was Buffalo weather, Syracuse ’08, he looked horrible!

  2. Amazing how nothing has happened yet and already there is all this flaming debate. Who knows what will happen. A lot could happen. Clausen getting picked in the first round means nothing really. The best thing that happened to Quinn was the trade. Shazamrock and kellygreen know what they are talking about. Not sure about the rest of the crowd here. Montana and Brady both were almost over looked. Oh and let’s not forget about Brett Favre who almost was done as a pro after his stint in Atlanta. I quit caring about the jerks in the NFL after 1990. Until Favre came along. He made football fun to watch again.

    All this draft hype and even the highschool recruiting hype is too over blown to get worked up about.

    Frankly, look for the Eagles themselves to see if they can get Clausen. That organization does not like players over 30 and they do not have a franchise QB on their roster. Not that it matters at this stage, but if not KC, look to Philly. That’s my bet.

    Meanwhile let’s hope the Irish are still on track for huge improvement in 2010.

    And let’s again stop and reach out the James family.

    1. C-Dog,

      Talk about high school recruiting hype.
      Remember Demetrious Jones?
      4/5 star QB recruit. Came to ND with all these high exspectations. Charlie Weis set him up to run the spread offense agianst our season opening opponent Georgia Tech.
      That was the ugilliest game I ever witnessed. That poor kid didn’t even make it to half time. The following week he missed the flight to Ann Arbor because he rather sit home and pout.
      Then he transfered Cincy to run the spread for Kelly there. That didn’t happen. Kelly moved him to linebacker.
      And this year, he just never showed up.
      A perfect example of a over-hyped high school kid with a “me first” attitude with a sence of entitlement, who did nothing more that eat up scholarships.
      Give me a hungry 3 star kid, who is willing to learn, is a team player, and listens to his coaches.

  3. michael haselbauer none of your posts have any actual facts to them. he got clocked by a teammate? who, where, and when? he was IN FACT clocked by a random person at a bar. He did also IN FACT lead his team back to what like 4 4th quarter game winning drives? That shows leadership and determination to win.

    Even if you dont like him you cannot say he is not a competitor. I’d take him on my team. It’s too bad he didn’t have a good defense ever or else your posts would look completely ridiculous. He’d probably have won the heisman had he had a decent defense.

    Let me get this straight, he has good arm strength and accuracy but his knock is leadership because he rode in a limo 5 YEARS AGO! what a joke. give me a break. Actually if you were a real fan you would realize that teammates said game after game right at games end that jimmy showed courage and leadership fighting back at the end of games.

      1. Proof will be in the pudding, thank God we appear to have much talent to work with. I agree fully with C-Dog below that our priorities have to be with the James family and support of Our Lady going forward. Actually I wish Jimmy well.

  4. Always thought it would have been better for Jimmy to stick around for one more season under the Dome. The numbers he would have put up in Kelly’s offense & and an additional year of experience would have improved his status in next years draft.

    Hopefully future ND stars will learn from Jimmy & Brady’s draft situation.

  5. Does anybody care what round Tom Brady was drafted at this point?

    Let’s compare the number of Super Bowl rings the 6th rounder has to that of Peyton Manning who went a hell of a lot sooner in the draft.

    As a Pats fan I will take Brady, much in the Montana mold, over Manning, much in the Dan Marino mold.

  6. I remember many years back ,a ND QB that the experts labeled as scrawny, and too under sized to play QB at the NFL level. He did get drafted. He got drafted in the 3rd round of the 1979 NFL Draft (89th pick overall) by the San Francisco 49ERS. His name was Joe Montana. Now enshrined in the NFL
    Hall of Fame. Fate is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s better to get passed over, and end up at a proven organization, with a good head coach and a system that complements one’s talents.
    Hopefully, fate will smile on Jimmy Clausen as it did to Joe Cool.

  7. I don’t see what the big deal is about JC arriving to campus in a limo… How does the car he arrived in have anything to do with his character or leadership?

    He comes from a wealthy family…. He came to campus in a really long car…. whoopdee freakin doooo!

    The media is responsible for the smear campaign against JC and the rest of the country are buying into it. “Boy that JC has some poor leadership skill….hell he came to campus in a car that the mega wealthy drive”.

    If there’s anyone to ask about JC leadership abilities I would talk to his teammates and coaches. Not some D-bag on the a sports network that traditionally has nothing good to say about ND anyways!

    I watched the kid play for 3 years and I never seen him give up in a game…or not do his best to step up and lead the team.

    1. Chan Ho – I do not know if the dude is wealthy, but he did not enhance his estate by being a cock head complete with mink coat and Hollywood hair doo. Namath backed up his bravado. JC helped CW hit the road, not a bad way to go out.

    2. Whoopee freakin doooo! Chan, have you heard any of JC’s teammates say anything good about his leadership abilities? I didn”t. I did hear that one of his teammates clocked him on the head. As for his 1st yr. debut, do you really think any O line could allow that many sacks? I think they might have been trying to send him a message. Time to face the real life music.

      1. Yeah I have Michael… I just read an article where Golden Tate was furious about hearing all the talk about JC.

        The offensive line was “giving up” sacks to show JC a lesson? Was the defense also “giving up” points to show JC a lesson? Was the special teams “giving up” to show the JC a lesson”

        Look bottom line…. the car he drove on to campus in….has nothing to do with his character. He was an 18 year old kid… Did he have some kind of lucrative internet business that he was running on the side to provide his transportation to campus. Probably not…I’m guessing his folks probably had something to do with it.

        As it turns out not only did he screw up by using a car that someone provided him…but he had a hair cut that people don’t like. This is crazy talk….. What does his trendy California haircut have to do with leadership? Nothing. The whole argument is crazy.

        I don’t care if the kid wears tights and a bow tie around campus. To me the kid made enormous gains from his freshman year to his junior year. That took hours of studying film, working his ass of in off season workouts, leadership and high character.

        He’s one of our own for cryin out loud…I will defend him to anyone who try’s to discredit him by saying his fashion sense proves he’s a poor leader.

        Go Irish…

      2. As far as one of his teammates boinking him on the head…. I couldn’t count how many times my teammates would get into it on the practice field…

        It’s a part of the game…. It’s an aggresive sport… highly competitive people giving it their best…. this happens all time in nearly every level of football. From Jr. High all the way to Pro’s.

  8. That limo ride onto campus is looming large now.

    His personality and leadership traits are driving his draft position not his on the field skills.

    1. If you preface your last statement with “Misinformation of”, you’d be more accurate.

      A lot of rubbish is swirling around the ‘tubes these days re Jimmy’s attitude. I guess if media types can’t tear into him about his skills, they’ll make stuff up about his personality.

      1. Jimmy is fully responsible for building his attitude. On top of that ou cannot convince me that we can hang all our losses on the rest of the team, or on coaching.

      2. Couldn’t agree more Irish_Angst. The clowns that are on espn and sports center are making an effort to discredit this kid.

        The media are feeding the fire to college football fans that have deep rooted anger and jealousy towards ND. I wish all of our qb’s will progress as well as JC on the football field.

        Michael: I have watched the games from last season about 4-5 times during the off season. JC played about as well as anyone could ask a qb to perform. The defense and special teams let their teammates, school, and fans down with terrible tackling, coverage, short yardage d, rushing d, hurrying the passer and about every other defensive category there is in football.

        The coaching staff let all those groups of people down the most…the didn’t instill toughness, persistence, heart and speed to them. They seemed to have failed at coaching even the basics to last years defense. This may be an indicator considering that all but one of the coaches from last season are no longer coaching at ND.

        Jimmy and his offense…that he led….had to overcome terrible….terrible field position…against the clock, had to make brilliant…laser guided passes late in 4th quarter nearly every game last season.

        Each was lost by an average of 5 points per loss over the course of the season. Mean while the defense gave up an average of 36 pts a game PER LOSS. That’s almost 5 TD’s a game…. How much are we going to ask of this kid?

        The qb and skilled positions on offense were not the problem last year. Our offensive line was not great…by any means. JC was running for his life consistently.

        Hair cuts…cars….and swagger have nothing to do with how he progressed as an 18-19 y/old true freshman through his Jr. year.

    2. Oh, I think it’s his on the field skills, too. Jimmy has always been overrated. He played at Notre Dame. That’s the only reason he’s even considered a top 30 pick. If you put him at Georgia or at Auburn or at North Carolina or at Arizona, he’d be lucky to have the possibility of being a top round pick.

      Think about this: the Skins would rather take an expensive 34 year old QB than an affordable would-be rookie in Clausen. They made the right call.

      1. you are right when you say
        “he played at ND, and that’s the only reason he’s even considered a top 30 pick”
        But the reason he went to ND in the first place is because they run a “Pro style” offense.
        And that just happends to be what “Pro” scouts are looking for.(What a coincidence!)
        That, and the fact that he was taught by Charlie Wies who is well known for his development of pro QB’s.
        You know… numbers don’t lie.
        His completion percentage, touchdowns to interceptions ratio, and TD passes of 20 yards or more just to name a few. That’s cause for consideration as well.
        Throw in his size, toughness, and the fact that he stayed out of trouble while in college is another reason to consider him. Overrated might be a little strong, over exsposed may be more accurate.
        But that comes with playing QB at the University of Notre Dame.
        The Skins take their chances just like everyone else in the NFL. They decided to try to “Win Now” with a 34yr old McNabb insted of playing for the future with a first round draft choice. Did they make the right call? Only time will tell on that one.

  9. McNabb would be a good guy for jimmy to learn from, I don’t think there is no chance for clausen at no. 4, it looks like they could get a veteran in front of the rookie to take the pressure off and give them time to build up that O-line.

  10. Doesn’t look good for Clausen. Redskins decided he wasn’t a franchise quarterback and traded for Donovan McNabb.

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