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McNabb Staying or Going: Mixed Reviews

McNabb Gone? Not Yet... Eagles Hesitant on Asomugha
By Lance Epstein

Ever since Wednesday when head coach Andy Reid said he was "entertaining" offers for his Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb, the rumor mill has been in overdrive. Some experts believe that McNabb is definitely gone, while others think he will remain as an Eagle.

Today, ESPN's NFL guru Adam Schefter said he expects current backup Kevin Kolb to be the starter for the Eagles in 2010. In other news, Schefter said McNabb finally spoke to Reid after several months and told him his preference is to remain an Eagle over going to the Bills or Raiders.

Furthermore, Schefter tweeted that ESPN colleague Len Pasquarelli said the Raiders are willing to part with star with star cornerback Nmandi Asomugha for McNabb.

However, Philadelphia is reluctant to pull the trigger on the deal because Asomugha's contract is unfavorable to the Eagles. Basically his contract is only one year left on it at 16.8 million and a 8.6 million roster bonus coming up. In addition, he has a provision where he cannot be franchised.

One problem for the Eagles and his 16.8 million salary is one thing, but a 8.6 million roster bonus puts his salary up to approximately $24 million, which is absurd for one player.

Additionally, the main problem for the Eagles is that they would want him to sign a long-term deal, but Asomugha might not want to be here without a proven quarterback with a winning track record. Since the Eagles will not be able to franchise him (do not expect them too even if they could with the price tag he would receive), he could walk away and Philadelphia would be left with nothing for their heralded quarterback.

For Asomugha, he would love to get out of Oakland and play for a winner. That said, trading McNabb might turn him off from wanting to come here or signing an extension since Kolb is unproven. Plus if the Eagle do make the trade anyway, if Kolb falters then he would be in a situation like he was in Oakland (which is probably the reason that he put a no franchise tag in his contract).

Along with Schefter's tweet, Yahoo sports reported that the Raiders are the front runners for McNabb's services and are even being willing to take him without an extension. While Oakland and Al Davis would gladly take McNabb without an extension, they also probably would not give the best deal for him without that extension.

Additionally, in any deal the Eagles will be shortchanged on value unless he signs an extension since McNabb's $5.5 million roster bonus on May 5 is a bit hefty and if he does not get an extension a team will be forced to franchise him in 2011 at around $20 million (is average of top five quarterback's salary in the league).

Even with a new trade scenarios coming up about every five minutes, NFL Network's Mike Mayock does not believe McNabb is on the move. He went as far as to say the story is a complete joke.

Mayock, a resident of Philadelphia, says that McNabb holds all the power because he is the one in control of signing an extension, which in-turn controls his destination.

"There is a very small amount of teams where A he will be willing to go, and B the competition, or their level of play is at a point where they can win a Super Bowl," Mayock said on NFL Total Access last night. "If your Donovan, why not play your tail off? Next year you have your choice of all 32 teams, including Philadelphia, and maybe you're Brett Favre's successor, with your old offensive coordinator in Minnesota, making a gazillion dollars, and a Super Bowl ready team."

In addition, Mayock has read the quotes from Reid but says reporters have misquoted him. Also, he does not believe if McNabb happens to stay that the locker room would be any different than from year's past.

"I read that stuff, and Andy Reid apparently did not say that," Mayock said. "What was the quote everybody uses? We are entertaining offers? Apparently he said, we are entertained by some of these offers. He was laughing about it, and to finish my point, all he's gotta do is play well.

"If he plays well week one, you think the locker room cares about all these rumors? The only way he is going to lose his locker room, is if he plays poorly. We are over analyzing everything, this is a non story. I shouldn't be here, nobody should be here talking about this stuff. It's a total non story. It's a joke! Lets talk about real stuff."

May be Mayock is right, perhaps he remains in midnight green, but ESPN's Sal Paolantino made an intriguing argument that the Eagles have backed themselves into a corner with McNabb and must trade him. He reported that a league source said that the longer Philadelphia lingers on trading McNabb, the harder it becomes to have him back next year with the team.

Paolantonio reiterated that the Eagles might have overplayed their hand with McNabb and be back at square one with three unhappy quarterbacks on the roster in 2010. In his article, he states that the Bills and Broncos were put off by the outrageous asking price for the soon-to-be 34-year-old quarterback. Furthermore, Buffalo does not want to give up a high pick when they are rebuilding.

He eliminated teams like the Seahawks and Browns who have move forward after discussions about both Kolb and McNabb by signing Charlie Whitehurst and Jake Delhomme, respectively. Also, he removed Arizona due to their GM Rod Graves definitively claiming they had no interest. As well as the 49ers since head coach Mike Singletary announced Alex Smith as his starter for next year.

As for the Rams rumors that have been flying around, well do not count on them. St. Louis will attend Sam Bradford pro day on Monday and are expecting to be blown away. They seem to be fixated on him and will probably make him the number one selection in the April 22 draft.

Basically, Paolantonio left Oakland and possibly the Minnesota Vikings as the only suiters. Despite them being suitors, Minnesota believes that Brett Favre is going to comeback for another season, which destroys any potential trade to the Vikings. While McNabb has told Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane that Minnesota is his top destination besides Philadelphia, do not expect him to be wearing purple and gold in 2010.

As for the Raiders, they need to make a decision on whether they want to have a reluctant quarterback under a one-year contract is worth the risk (since he could bolt the very next season).

The most intriguing thing about Paolantonio's article is that his league source made it straight forward to the Eagles and their fans. The Eagles wanted the world from teams. Now, teams have moved on and the most teams are only willing to give up for McNabb is a third rounder. Clearly, the Eagles would rather have McNabb back next season, if the most they can get on the open market is a third rounder.

While analyst, experts and fans sit on the edge of their seats, do not expect a trade to happen over the weekend or until late next week at the earliest. Derrick Gunn of Sports Nite and Comcast Sportsnet of Philadelphia has provided information from another league source that there will be no trade for any quarterback for the next three-to-four days. The reason being that Reid is in Utah and Banner is in Florida for reasons that he could not disclose.

Looking at the situation, I think the Eagles there is an offer on the table that is very compelling. The hierarchy may have decided to take a vacation for the next couple of days to think about moving the greatest quarterback in franchise's history. Trading a player, heck a quarterback with McNabb's pedigree is a franchise altering move that can resonate for years and even a decade.

Moreover, if Reid and Banner are wrong on Kolb and McNabb continues flourishes in the NFL, their jobs could be on the line.

This is a very big day coming up for the upper management, their fans and owner Jeffrey Lurie. If they trade their franchise quarterback it might become the nightmare of the late 90s all over again.

Now, if they keep McNabb and he happens to fail again, there is no harm done considering they can move in a different direction with Kolb at seasons end. Kolb is scheduled to be a unrestricted free agent, but that is only if the new collective bargaining agreement can be consummated. Otherwise Kolb will be a restricted free agent and will receive the highest tender, so he is most likely to be back.

While fans, media and everyone around the world wants a deal to get done, patience is best before making a decision that the Eagles cannot go back on.


  1. How can the Rams be impressed with Sam Bradford's pro day, so much so that they're definitely picking him at #1 according to you, when his pro day hasn't even happened yet??????

  2. Sorry meant to say will attend Bradford's pro day and are expecting to be blown away by him. Not that he had the Pro Day. I miswrote that trying to get he story done faster.