The initial reports on Donovan McNabb's contract extension defied belief: five years, as much as US$78 million (Dh286m) over five years, with $40m guaranteed.
Among his peers, Daniel Snyder, the Redskins' owner, holds a safe lead in the category of dumb decisions. But even he would not open the vault for a quarterback who was yanked from a recent game because he was either unprepared to run the two-minute offence or physically spent, depending on which day coach Mike Shanahan was asked about it.
If McNabb has neither the mind nor the body to perform end-game duties at the age of 33 (he turns 34 on Thursday), do the Redskins expect him to be around in 2016? Not really.
On closer examination, the deal immediately pays McNabb $3.5m. But the team can sever ties at no additional cost after this season. If he returns, overall pay (salary and bonus) for next year would amount to $12.5m, hardly excessive for an NFL quarterback.
The contract, generous at first glance, is intended as a peace offering to McNabb after Shanahan erred by removing him from a game and worsening matters with multiple explanations.
Further, it is designed to signal, perhaps falsely, to a restless Redskins Nation that the team still believe in McNabb.
He will not be back without improving on his statistics; his efficiency rating is among the worst in the NFL, No 29 in a 32-team league. If he does not show signs of a renaissance, all the dollars splashed in newspaper headlines will be worth nothing more than the paper they are printed on.
Next season, he would be Donovan McGone.