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Donovan McNabb's season debut with the Washington Redskins came with much fanfare, but there have been rocky moments since. ((Larry French/Getty Images))

Just two weeks after being benched, it appears Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb will be signed to a lucrative contract extension.

McNabb, who turns 34 on Nov. 25, has agreed to five-year contract extension worth $78 million US, according to an ESPN report.

Redskins GM Bruce Allen said on ESPN Radio the decision to make a deal was in the works for a long time.

"It's really been something we've known we're going to do for some time," Allen said. "When we made the trade for him, we understood what we were getting in Donovan. We're pleased with the leadership that he brings."

Fletcher Smith, the player's agent, later confirmed the deal, which includes $40 million in guaranteed money.  

The veteran has thrown for seven touchdowns and 1,971 yards in his first eight games with Washington, with eight interceptions. He has completed 57.4 per cent of his passes as the Redskins have gone 4-4.

But with the Redskins trailing the Detroit Lions by six points with 1:50 left to play on Nov. 11, coach Mike Shanahan pulled McNabb in favour of backup Rex Grossman.

Shanahan said after the subsequent loss that Grossman was better versed in the team's two-minute drill, having worked with current offensive co-ordinator Kyle Shanahan when both were with the Houston Texans.

The following day, the Redskins coach added that McNabb didn't have the fitness level to run the no-huddle offence due to lingering hamstring and groin injuries.

McNabb spent his first 11 NFL seasons with Philadelphia but was dealt to the division rivals in April in exchange for a pair of draft picks. There were reports at the time that the Redskins and the quarterback were working on a contract extension, but it never came to pass.

McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback, took the Eagles to five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance in Philadelphia.

He ranks fourth among active quarterbacks in both touchdown passes (223) and passing yards (34,844).

Washington sees its first action since the Lions game when it hosts Philadelphia on Monday night.

With files from The Associated Press