The Philly and national media alike are calling the reworking of Donovan McNabb's deal a "financial apology."
Apparently a "financial apology" is that the Eagles are giving McNabb more money in order to say that they're sorry for him being benched Week 12 against Baltimore. This would also explain why he's not receiving an extension on top of the two years.
Anyone who has been an Eagles fan for more than five minutes knows that this is lunacy at its highest level. I don't mean that the front office or the Eagles organization is crazy, but anyone who believes that is crazy.
Of any team in the league, the Eagles are probably the least likely to hand out "financial apologies" to a player simply because they feel like they've been done wrong.
Yes, McNabb was upset about being benched. No, he did not agree with the benching. But does anyone believe that Andy Reid, Tom Heckert, Jeff Lurie, or Joe Banner really care if McNabb's feelings were hurt? Of course not.
This new contract is nothing more than showing good faith in McNabb. He only has two years left on his deal, and the bottom line is those last two years underpaid him by about $3 million.
Over the next two years, McNabb was scheduled to make about an average of $10 million a year. Kurt Warner, on the other hand, was just signed to a deal that will pay him about $12.5 million over the next two years.
All McNabb and his agent were looking for was fair market value for a guy who is a top five, perhaps even top three quarterback in the NFL today.
That is exactly what they got.
"If they're showing good faith, why no extension?"
McNabb is 33 years old, and the Eagles believe that he definitely has two years left in him to get the job done and bring a Super Bowl to Philadelphia.
However, they may not have as much faith in him at age 35. As we've seen, the Eagles are not fond of players over the age of 30, much less halfway to their 40s.
The plan from the Eagles' point of view is to sit and wait. They will watch how he performs this season before jumping the gun to give him an extension. If he performs well and has a Pro Bowl-caliber season, then they will most likely give him the extension that he's looking for in the offseason, probably three years or so.
If he does not play well enough, or they see something that would indicate that he has lost a step, they will allow him to play out his contract and finish his career elsewhere.
A key indicator of what they plan to do will be if Kevin Kolb gets an extension after next year and McNabb does not. That would mean that Kolb is viewed as the heir apparent and that he will simply have to wait out McNabb before the team is his.
If neither McNabb nor Kolb gets an extension, look for the Eagles to go after a quarterback in the 2010 draft and look towards the future.
My gut feeling is that the Eagles are simply being overly cautious and will give McNabb the extension after this coming season (hopefully after he returns from Disney World).
All three quarterbacks' contracts (A.J. Feeley included) run out in 2010, so the quarterback situation will become a huge focus in the coming years, and what the Eagles do with McNabb/Kolb will really show their hand as to their plans for the future.
Right now, the Eagles are just showing good faith that McNabb will take them to where they need to be within the next two years. He's got a lot of guaranteed money coming his way with three-fourths of his 2010 season guaranteed. The Eagles are hoping that this show of good faith will pay off for them, hopefully in '09 rather than '10.
"How will this affect players in the locker room?"
Other players in the locker room looking for new deals, such as Sheldon Brown and Max Jean-Gilles, have not done half of what McNabb has done.
Brown is at least a starter, but he signed a six-year extension only two years ago. He cannot think that throwing a fit about a contract that he agreed to only two years ago is going to get him a new deal.
Jean-Gilles has come out of left field in his search for a new contract. He's a backup guard and has recently had to switch sides because he lost his right guard backup spot to Nick Cole.
A backup who just lost his spot is in no position to ask for a new contract.
If the players are smart, they will realize that the team needs McNabb and that the front office is simply showing good faith and hoping that he will finally get this team to the promised land.
If they're not smart and want to chirp up, Reid will have a comfy place for them on the bench. They'll also get a lovely financial apology.
"Sorry, here's your pink slip."