Just when the Eagles' offseason started to settle down into a countdown toward the April 25-26 draft, along came our old friend Michael Smith to stir the pot a little.
As the Moving the Chains blog on this site reported last night, Smith speculated on ESPN that the Bengals could end up trading wideout Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson. Moving the Chains asserts that Smith said, in a question about the Eagles, that he believes there is interest.
I'm not sure Smith has a lot of management sources with the Eagles. (Does anyone?) He points out that the Eagles have two first-round draft choices, so they would be a logical destination. That's why the Birds are getting pulled into almost every trade scenario, at every position, this offseason. They have two first-round draft choices, so they are assumed to be interested in this, that and the other thing.
But Smith saying he thinks the Eagles ought to be interested in trading for Chad Johnson is worth noting, because Smith is believed to be plugged in to the Birds' own "Cinco," Donovan McNabb. The last time we mentioned Smith on this blog, it was right after the NFL Scouting Combine, when Smith wrote that the Eagles' QB would assess the Birds' offseason before deciding whether he wanted to proceed with discussions on a contract extension, and that McNabb might request a trade if the team's moves didn't pass muster.
You'll note that we've heard nothing more on that matter. Memo to Donovan: If you really want out of here, you're going to have to raise a much larger fuss. One nebulous ESPN suggestion, followed by many weeks of silence, isn't going to get it done. The Eagles clearly aren't trying to trade McNabb -- believe me, that's a secret that wouldn't keep longer than a nanosecond -- and their approach to the offseason doesn't indicate that they're scurrying about, trying to add weapons to keep him from wanting out. Whether talks on a new deal are progressing is anyone's guess -- the Eagles have said they won't comment and agent Fletcher Smith hasn't responded to requests for comment.
So now Michael Smith, the guy who is thought to have close ties to the McNabb camp, is opining that the Birds should be interested in trading for Chad Johnson. Could this be something Donovan thinks would be a good idea, as well?
Remember, in warmups before that awful 13-13 Eagles tie in Cincinnati Nov. 16 -- the game that taught Donovan the rules of overtime -- Johnson playfully jumped into the Birds' receiving drill and caught a slant from McNabb, as part of his campaign to get out of Cincy.
Here is what we wrote about that at the time: "He caught a slant from Donovan McNabb and then raised his face and arms to the heavens, presumably rejoicing in the opportunity to catch a pass thrown by his friend and offseason confidante, as Cinco told reporters in a midweek conference call. Then McNabb and Cinco hugged ..."
So, would the Eagles be interested? They have indicated that if a premier wideout became available, they'd want to kick the tires. But they made it very clear they were not going to be adding (presumably prison-bound) Plaxico Burress, when the Giants released him last week. Chad/Ocho has a long and colorful history. He's 31 years old. He certainly wouldn't command the kind of ransom the Cards would get, say, for Anquan Boldin.
But if I'm the Eagles, I'd probably be interested, at a price that wouldn't include either of those first-round picks Michael Smith mentioned. Especially if this is something McNabb thinks he needs.
To read our earlier entry on the Eagles' possible interest in West Virginia quarterback Pat White, click here.
By the way, Brian Westbrook spoke on ESPN2 today about his knee rehab, giving answers similar to those he offered at Tra Thomas' charity event in Florida last month. Asked about Donovan McNabb getting a new contract -- with the questioner operating under the mistaken premise that the Eagles have told McNabb they won't redo his deal -- Westbrook endorsed his QB, as you might expect.
Here is what Westbrook told your Eagletarian about his knee, last month: Asked specifically about the surgery, he said: “I didn’t have to have it. It was a surgery that’ll make things a lot better, so the (week-to-week) soreness won’t be there and hopefully, I’ll be able to participate in practices without so much pain. It was a basic cleanout.”
Westbrook told the ESPN2 interviewer he hopes to play pain-free this season.
At the Thomas event, Westbrook, who turns 30 in September, said he’d thought about having something like this done previously, but “I wanted to make sure I was there to help the team win football games.” Presumably, Westbrook was talking about not wanting to have anything done during the season, which would have meant missing a stretch of games.
He said he thinks he has several years left, at a position where players seem to age almost overnight.
Westbrook also made some comments about McNabb during an ESPN Radio interview, including his thoughts on the expectations placed on the QB. Click here for that.