Does Andy Reid Really Have the Final Say in Philadelphia Eagles Decisions?

Haran KnightCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2010

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 15:   Head Coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on from the sidelines during the game against the San Diego Chargers on November 15, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Chargers won 31-23.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Have you ever seen so many players handed their walking papers this time of year before?  At this moment, I’m wondering which two guys will the Eagles rid themselves of Friday.

I have no problem with them parting ways with Brian Westbrook, Chris Clemons, Kevin Curtis, and Darren Howard.  What I do question is the timing of some of the releases.

The trades are understandable because you get something in return and you never know if a trading partner will change their mind(s).

Releasing a player in March who may still have something to give is different.  Even if there is no cap floor, couldn’t some of these players be given another chance to compete at Lehigh University?

What if Shawn Andrews back is finally healed? Maybe Howard has another 10 sack season in him.  Curtis could have established himself as the best fourth receiver in the league…These are all hypothetical thoughts by the way.  I don’t believe none of the above would’ve occurred.

Even though he’s spent most of his time this week stating “We appreciate the efforts such and such gave this organization,” are these the type of moves Andy Reid makes before the draft?

Reid is usually loyal to a fault and gives his players chances to prove themselves in the preseason.  Jerome McDougle (2008), Jeremiah Trotter (2007), and Hugh Douglas (2005) each lasted until the final cut.  Their abilities to contribute may have been in question, but they were given every possible chance.

This is definitely a different era.  Reid is officially charged with personnel decision.  But, the recent decision making seems to be primarily influenced by Mr. Joseph Banner.

Subtract Andrews, each player released (including Will Witherspoon) would’ve been at least 30 by next season’s start.  Each guy also would’ve cost more than $3 million.

I believe Reid wanted to keep these guys around, but Banner told him “There is no way we can continue to pay these big amounts and not get much productivity in return”. 

It’s this reasoning that makes it very difficult for me to believe Michael Vick will remain an Eagle after the NFL Draft.  Even if it’s for a third or fourth round pick, Banner would rather have that than pay an extra $3.5 million for a third stringer.

Overall, the Eagles look like they’re on a mission to get younger.  Out goes Howard and in comes Darryl Tapp.  It’s why Mike Bell signed an offer sheet and Justin Fargas is still making his rounds.  Jason Babin was a stop-gap solution while they hoped for Victor Abiamiri.

The current endangered players on the Eagles roster who’ll be 30 by the season’s start are: Vick, Donovan McNabb, Sheldon Brown, Jamaal Jackson, Jaqua Parker, and Quintin Mikell (kickers last until almost 40, so David Akers should be safe).

These guys are productive but can be replaced if the right situation comes along.  If the Eagles get a free safety and Marlin Jackson’s knees prove to be healthy, Brown could be on his way out.  If A.Q. Shipley proves he can man the center position do you think Jackson will be waited on?

Tabb’s presence may actually help out Parker, but if he hops in the A-Team van with Todd Herremans again it won’t be as tolerable.  There’s no replacement on the roster for Mikell, but he’s entering the final year of his contract.  The scout team may checking out his replacement right now.

If Vick goes as expected, McNabb will likely play out the final year of his contract.  Even if an attractive trade offer is put on the table, it’s hard to believe the Eagles will start Kolb without a competent, veteran backup.  Then again, Jeff Garcia is still available.

Who has the final say? Reid or Banner? Stay tuned as the unexpected continues.