As trade rumors have whipped around him from every angle, Donovan McNabb has remained unflappable. It doesn’t hurt that he has the endorsement of coach Andy Reid, who has always maintained an excellent relationship with his quarterback, but moreover, McNabb has been more reticent, more reserved, less defensive than in years past. It’s not a new found maturity or some kind of personal acknowledgment or professionalism. McNabb has always been cool, calm and collected in demonstrating his personal image. But with a deal that’s expiring in 2011, it looks like he could be a man without a country for the first time in his career.
So why has he been so quiet? After leading the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game in 2008, McNabb was able to squeeze some financial security out of the team in the form of a renegotiated contract. It served as delicate compensation for having been benched in a Baltimore game in which the team proved that neither McNabb or Kevin Kolb had been properly prepared for the Ravens defense. However, it did not serve to extend McNabb beyond the final two years of his contract. With just one year remaining, conventional knowledge suggests that the Eagles should want to get something in exchange for Donovan, rather than just let him wander off to another team in a year.
Unless of course, they think they’re ready to win a Super Bowl now. As the Eagles release aging veterans like Kevin Curtis and Darren Howard, it’s not hard to see how they can be decidedly unsentimental with players who had made significant contributions in the past; Curtis having led the team in receiving yards in 2007 and Howard having led the team in sacks in 2008. Although they were some of the Eagles bigger free agent signings, it hardly seems necessary to void the depth they provided in an uncapped year.
Reid’s endorsement still rings in a lot of people’s ears, but we all know it could just be their bargaining chip. There has been no talk of a contract extension for McNabb. Kevin Kolb is undoubtedly the future quarterback for Philadelphia, but how soon is that future? If McNabb is the man under center in 2010, how will he react? Haven shaken the injury-prone label in these last three years, should McNabb feel comfortable putting his body on the line for a team that seems unwilling to give him more time? After watching the offensive line struggle in the final games of 2009, it’s a significant risk. McNabb’s indignation could rise to the surface if this team fails to move him. Could we see a standoff in Philadelphia if the Eagles fail to move McNabb?