Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown finds himself in one of the most unique positions in sports. He’s a starter on an NFC Championship Game team that isn’t sure he is going to continue to start. Unhappy with his contract, seeking a raise from his current $2 million salary to around $8 million a season, Brown demanded a trade this offseason.
The team traded for Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs instead, and Philadelphia Eagles president Joe Banner has advised Brown to get some “perspective.”
Brown has said he will report to training camp at Lehigh University if he’s still on the team. Which should make for some interesting July days. Here are the questions Brown needs to be asked:
1. Do you worry that your role will be marginalized now if you’re not traded? What have you been told by head coach Andy Reid and (acting defensive coordinator) Sean McDermott about where you fit in?
2. What was your reaction when Eagles traded for cornerback Ellis Hobbs? Some say he’s a younger version of you. Did you see that as a message directed at you? A swipe even?
3. Do Philadelphia Eagles players Joe Banner and Andy Reid hold a grudge?
4. You watched what happened with Lito Sheppard last season—when after a similar dispute he found himself not playing much for whatever reason. Did that cross your mind or influence your thinking when you decided to demand a trade?
5. Lito has said he’s talked to you and told you that what happened to him will happen to you—as far as playing time. What did you take from that conversation?
6. If you thought Lito Sheppard was wrong last season, why didn’t you speak up? Couldn’t it be argued that you benefited from Sheppard’s situation last year, keeping your starting job when Asante Samuel came over?
7. How disappointed were you to see that the trade that would have sent you to Arizona in a deal for receiver Anquan Boldin fell apart? Do you think there’s another trade out there for you?
8. How would you react if the Eagles traded you to the Detroit Lions?
9. If you don’t get traded—and the Eagles do decide to keep you in the starting lineup—do you think you’ll be able to perform up to your abilities under the contract you don’t like?
10. You signed that long-term contract extension after your second season in the league on your own free will. You got some semblance of security from it very early in your career—as much as there ever is in the NFL where only signing bonuses are guaranteed.
Why not just live up to the agreement and play out the contract?
11. Fans often seem to take management’s side in these disputes. Even though in the NFL, unlike the other major professional sports leagues, the teams can cut players at any time. Why don’t you think Eagles fans are more sympathetic to your situation?
12. It’s a tough economy and many NFL fans are hurting. Did this cross your mind or come up in conservations with your agent when you made the decision to go public with your demands?
13. Are the Eagles a championship organization? If not, what’s keeping this franchise from winning a Super Bowl?
14. How would you rate Donovan McNabb as a leader?
15. When Terrell Owens was here, TO wanted McNabb to get involved and say something when he was seeking a new contract. Do you wish McNabb would speak out in support of you?
16. Where is Sheldon Brown and what will he be doing in November? Still on the Eagles? On another team? Still starting?