The other day, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia reported the Eagles and McNabb have quietly been discussing a new contract for the signal caller for the past month.
Apparently the upcoming deal will focus on renegotiating the last two years of McNabb’s current deal—due $9.2 million in 2009 and $10 million in 2010 from his 12-year contract worth $115 million with $20.5 million guaranteed—rather than seeking a long-term extension.
One might think the Eagles' apprehension to signing a long-term deal with their franchise quarterback centers around them taking a wait-and-see approach with the 11-year veteran.
Everyone knows the 2009 season is a make-or-break season for McNabb, 32, as he was a little inconsistent at times in 2008, completing 345 of 571 passes for 3,916 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
But I believe the main reason the team doesn’t want to commit to a long-term deal at this time is the uncertain economic environment around the NFL and NFLPA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement. With a potential uncapped year in 2010 and the owners threatening a lockout in 2011, NFL teams are taking a cautious attitude toward contracts for the 2011 season and beyond.
By waiting to see how nice NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell play in the sandbox together, McNabb and the Eagles are both taking a chance.
If McNabb can string together a couple quality seasons in 2009 and 2010, he may be in line for another big payday down the line, possibly with another team. But conversely, if McNabb gets hurt or plays poorly, the Eagles will have increased his salary, and they will be left with a high-priced 34-year-old quarterback along with unproven backup Kevin Kolb.
Speaking of Kolb, the former second-round pick from 2007 recently voiced his displeasure regarding the Eagles talking with McNabb about an extended deal. Through the media, he wonder if we would ever get his shot at the starting job.
Smartly, McNabb has let his agent (Fletcher Smith) and Eagles' cap guru Joe Banner work out the contract details, while the 11-year veteran prepares to pick up where he left off in last season's NFC Championship game.
On paper, this offseason has been a good one for the Eagles, as they have compiled a plethora of talent to make McNabb happy about his weapons.
The Eagles worked the draft (WR Jeremy Maclin, RB LeSean McCoy, TE Cornelius Ingram and others), trades (CB Ellis Hobbs and OT Jason Peters), and free agency (FB Leonard Weaver, OL Stacy Andrews, and S Sean Jones) to redo an aging roster. It will be interesting to see how they fare in 2009. With training camp in Bethlehem, Pa., quickly approaching, the Birds appear to be on the short list of teams at the top of the NFC, along with the Cardinals and Giants.
I wonder what Kolb, Sheldon Brown, a veteran cornerback unhappy with his contract, and other dollar-hungry Birds think about McNabb’s opportunity to sit down with the Eagles' brass to talk “contract." But that's another topic for another day, surely to be discussed further in training camp.
So don’t turn the dial, as you know Philadelphia’s biggest lightning rod will have more drama swirling around him as the Eagles enter training camp.