The Andrews brothers absence in 2009 made the Eagles scramble to rearrange their offensive line. Fortunately, the Eagles had stockpiled depth to provide enough protection for McNabb to help the team earn a playoff berth and generate some good football.
The disguised blessing was the affirmative discovery that Winston Justice is a capable right tackle.
The bad news was that we struggled to get the formerly formidable presence back at right guard despite Nick Cole's continued and consistent play on the line. The situation further deteriorated when Jamaal Jackson went down with a knee injury and Cole was shuffled into the center position.
Heading into 2010, Shawn Andrews' largely discounted claims of back pain have potentially been remedied by offseason surgery. Sometimes, one doesn't appreciate what they have until it's gone and the possibility exists that Shawn Andrews desire, passion and capacity to return and play is unfeigned and potentially amplified.
Stacy Andrews' return from reconstructive knee surgery was anticlimactic as he was a healthy scratch for most of the season. It was not completely unexpected as that type of devastating knee injury typically requires a season to regain full strength.
The impact these brothers will have remains to be seen. The Eagles have a minimal obligation to retain either brother for 2010. Both players could be released as easily as they could return to their former Pro Bowl caliber play.
By way of dramatic grandeur regarding quarterbacks and to a lesser extent running backs, the ramifications of the Andrews brothers' potential contribution or release have been a muffled reality that could be the biggest difference of all regarding the productivity and efficiency of the Eagles offense.
Where do the Eagles go from here?
I suppose they will judiciously take a wait and see approach.
Stacy Andrews' four million dollar roster bonus due on March 5th will unlikely be negotiable despite the fact that he is apparently willing to renegotiate the salary of his contract which is more insignificant.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported that Stacy was willing to negotiate a new deal, but not touch the bonus. The bonus is what the Eagles' front office is assuredly interested in altering.
With no minimum salary in this presumably uncapped 2010 season, all things are still possible.
Shawn Andrews will more than likely report to camp, but that is nothing new. We have heard it all before, seen it all before and anticipate the worst. Still, it would seem to me that there is a greater likelihood that Shawn returns rather than big brother Stacy.
How long will Shawn remain motivated to play?
How does this affect the Eagles' draft and free agency plans?
With Winston Justice's 2009 performance are the Eagles even looking to bring back both brothers?
Will Shawn Andrews play right guard or right tackle if he returns?
We will know a lot more next month when the Eagles have decided how much they are willing to pay Stacy Andrews before he produces. Watch carefully to see if he receives his roster bonus.
The Eagles will almost undoubtedly draft a lineman. How early they make that move may serve as a better indicator as to their expectations and plans for Shawn Andrews.
It's all up in the air at this point.