- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LANDOVER, MD. (AP) - Never mind whether Donovan McNabb can go for two minutes. The Washington Redskins have decided they’d like to have him around for another five years.

And never mind whether he was worth a pair of draft picks. The Redskins figure he’s worth $40 million in guaranteed money.

Two weeks after they caused an uproar by benching him in the final 1:50 of a loss to the Detroit Lions, the Redskins on Monday signed McNabb to a five-year contract extension worth $78 million _ giving top-grade money to a quarterback who is about to turn 34 and is having his worst season since he was a rookie.

“I’ve always said I wanted to be here,” McNabb said after Washington’s 59-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, a game that began a few hours after the contract was announced.

McNabb was 17 for 31 for 295 yards with two touchdown passes and three interceptions, including one returned for a score, and he did not want to discuss the contract after the lopsided loss.

Others were happy to weigh in, however.

“How do u justify a 78 million dollar contract w/this type of performance?” Cincinnati receiver Terrell Owens said on Twitter.

Stats aside, however, the Redskins have decided the six-time Pro Bowler will remain a centerpiece in coach Mike Shanahan’s rebuilding project, even as both endure growing pains with the Redskins‘ new offense.

“Now he doesn’t have to focus or concentrate on what next year will bring,” said Fletcher Smith, McNabb’s agent. “He knows he’s going to be a Redskin; now he can focus on playing football.”

The contract was finished before McNabb was able to take his first snap following the bizarre Halloween events in Detroit.

With the Redskins trailing by six points, Shanahan yanked McNabb for Rex Grossman, only the second time McNabb has been benched during a game in his career. Grossman lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, and Washington lost 37-25 to drop to 4-4.

Pulling McNabb was baffling enough, but Shanahan compounded the matter by offering varying explanations over multiple days.

First, Shanahan said he felt Grossman was more knowledgeable in the team’s two-minute offense. Then the coach said McNabb lacked the “cardiovascular endurance” to run a fast-paced drill because of nagging hamstring injuries. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said McNabb had been tipped in advance that the team might go with Grossman; McNabb claimed he didn’t hear that.

The confusion put the Redskins in the spotlight during their bye week. It had always been assumed the Redskins would sign McNabb to an extension before his contract expired at the end of the season, but had Shanahan lost confidence in him? And would McNabb even want to stay?

The answers, apparently, are no and yes. Smith said the benching had no effect on the negotiations, which had been ongoing to some degree since McNabb was acquired from the Eagles for a pair of draft picks in April.

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