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Eagles Show Future Intentions with New McNabb Contract

By: Kyle Gromel

Head coach Andy Reid has always been clear with the media that Donovan McNabb is the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. However the negation of the Eagles to fulfill McNabb’s desire for a contract extension suggests the team is prepared to move on to a new campaign.

When the team drafted the Syracuse gunner in 1999 with the number two overall pick, the Eagles expressed intentions of utilizing the duel threat and rebuilding their offense around him. Donovan would not disappoint as he would finish second in the Associated Press league MVP race and be selected to his first of five pro bowls. He would be given a contract extension in 2002 to run through 2013 for 115 million dollars, making him the holder of the biggest contract in National Football League History.

The past four years of McNabb’s career has been an up and down ride, full of season ending injuries, playoff berths and public criticism. Since 2005, the Eagles have played backup quarterbacks Mike McMahon, Jeff Garcia, A.J. Feely and Kevin Kolb in place of the team leader. None of these have been able to put up numbers that McNabb has even with his injuries since the 2005 season. And despite coming off of a career comeback year for McNabb leading the Eagles to the 2008 NFC Championship game, his wishes for a contract extension at least through 2013 have been denied. The Eagles have negotiated a new deal with their starting quarterback for 24.5 million over the next two years, plus 1 million in benefits. It appears that unless the quarterback can deliver his team another Super Bowl opportunity they are ready to try their luck with a younger arm.

The additional 5.3 million that has been offered to McNabb is a fail safe plan for the Eagles. On one hand, if the Eagles can make another playoff run by taking charge with their refurbished receiving core led by last year’s breakout Eagles receivers Hank Basket and DeSean Jackson and number 19 overall NFL draft pick Jeremy Maclin out of University of Missouri, the additional 5.3 million will appear to be a well placed extension of trust in their franchise quarterback. In the event that McNabb lives up to the criticism of many of his fans and cannot produce playoff worthy results, he will be regarded as an unnecessary expense and will be let go to free up plenty of space in the Eagles salary cap. Whichever the case, the Philadelphia Eagles have shown their readiness to move on from the McNabb era, if that is in the best interest of the team.

Although the Eagles have given only two more years to the all time passing yardage, touchdown and wins leader for Philadelphia, McNabb has expressed his intentions to continue playing in the NFL after the 2010 season, even if it’s not for his current team. "I've always said I'd like to retire here. But that's not going to be in two years."

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