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McNabb, Redskins agree to five-year extension through 2015

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.

Never mind whether he was worth a pair of draft picks. The deal could pay McNabb almost $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.

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But the Redskins have decided the six-time Pro Bowl selection is a centerpiece in coach Mike Shanahan's rebuilding project, even as both endure growing pains with the Redskins' new offense.

McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, confirmed the deal to the Washington Post.

"We're very happy about the situation," Smith said. "We've been working on this for a while now, and we're obviously glad to get it done. Donovan's very happy about the situation because this is where he wanted to be all along."

The deal came with impeccable timing. It was announced a few hours before McNabb and the Redskins faced the quarterback's longtime team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the Monday night game. It also came before McNabb was able to take his first snap following the bizarre Halloween events in Detroit.

With the Redskins trailing by six, 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. McNabb's agent 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.

"Once the regular season started, we really were aiming toward the bye week, and it came together," Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said. "I think coach and myself said that Donovan's going to be here from the beginning and Donovan has been real clear in his intent of being a Redskin. So I think it just puts an exclamation point on it."

Still, McNabb's adjustment to his first new offense in more than a decade has been a bigger challenge than expected. He was completing 57.4 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions and a rating of only 76.0 entering Monday's game. That said, he's been working behind a sub-par offensive line -- he was sacked 22 times through the first eight games -- and has only two reliable wideouts in Santana Moss and Anthony Armstrong.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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