Brian Dawkins Leaves Philly: Good Business by Both Sides

Matt JacobsCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2009

Brian Dawkins (aka Weapon X) is now a Denver Bronco. It just doesn't sound right, does it? 

In a perfect world, the Eagles would have re-signed the cornerstone of the organization, and he would have retired and hung his jersey next to Reggie White's. 

He would have been inducted into the Hall of Fame as one of the few athletes to spend a decade and a half with one team. 

However, this is the NFL, and it's a business first and foremost. 

Brian Dawkins left Saturday after inking a two-year, $9 million dollar contract with the Denver Broncos.  The contract says five years, but everyone knows it's just a two-year deal. 

How can you blame him for wanting to maximize his last NFL contract? Many of you Eagles fans think, "Was it really worth leaving a Super Bowl contender for a team rebuilding for $4 million dollars?" 

The answer is yes. Anybody who know's that it's his last chance would take the $4 million, just like Dawkins did, and never look back. 

You cannot question his loyalty, nor can you question the business decision. 

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The radio shows have been blowing up about the Eagles' decision to let him walk.

"I will never go to another game again," and "What the hell are Banner and Reid thinking?" are just about the gist of every call. 

Let me preface this by saying that Brian Dawkins is my favorite athlete of all time.  However, the Eagles' choice to let him walk was the right decision. 

The Eagles are sitting $40 million under the cap, and yes, B-Dawk was the heart and soul of this franchise for the last 13 years. They could have franchised him and brought him back for one more year. They could have overpaid for him and matched the Broncos' deal. 

But, the truth is, Brian Dawkins is a 35-year-old safety who has lost a step. 

You cannot pay a player on past performances, and you cannot get sucked into being sentimental. 

Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice all left their teams that made them legends to finish their careers elsewhere. Arguably, the three best players at their positions all did what Dawkins did on Saturday. 

And looking at their performances with those new teams, the 49ers and Cowboys made the right decisions, just like the Eagles did on Saturday. 

Derrick Brooks and Marvin Harrison were casualties this season. 

Players usually play at least one year past their NFL expiration date, and Brian Dawkins is no different. There was a reason Quintin Demps was playing free safety in the NFC Championship. Dawkins has lost a step, and he couldn't be back there. 

That first touchdown scored by Larry Fitzgerald was Dawkins' fault. 

Most arguments for keeping him involve his impact in the locker room and what he meant with the younger guys seeing his work ethic. But, is that worth a 36-year-old Brian Dawkins who is a first down player in 2010? 

Remember, you have to pay players for what they are going to do in the future, not what they've done in the past. 

The city of Philadelphia will miss you, Brian Dawkins, but we can't fault either side for what happened Saturday. 

In the end, both did what was best for each and both made good business decisions.