McNabb's future ... again

I'm risking sounding like a broken record here. (Also, I need an updated reference. Who plays records? Can you sound like a broken iPod?)

Anyway, on this business of Jeffrey Lurie telling the Boston Globe he has "every intention" of having Donovan McNabb back next season - I again feel compelled to point out that the relevant issue here is McNabb's contract, which Lurie did not mention.

It would have been news 6 weeks ago, when McNabb was playing horribly, if Lurie had announced he wanted him back. In the intervening weeks, McNabb's stretch run has made a quarterback switch very unlikely. But McNabb's contention that he wants to sit down in the offseason and discuss, among other things, his contract, which he can void after 2010, remains a very real complication.

Again, new contract equals big signing bonus equals no way you can take the cap hit if you part with McNabb in the next few years, or before Kevin Kolb's 4-year rookie deal is up. Yes, you can just sit down with Donovan and tell him nicely that while he definitely is the Eagles' starting quarterback going into 2009, you feel he is going to be handsomely compensated at $9.2 million, and you aren't giving him a new deal. That strategy worked so well with Lito Sheppard.

As the Eagles have learned (or should have learned) any number of times by now, you can enforce a contract. But you can't enforce attitude or outlook. "Every intention" in this instance had better imply a very public renewed commitment - that's the vibe I'm getting from the McNabb camp. From McNabb's perspective, he proved he could stay healthy and he proved he could still be productive, and it's time for the Eagles to pay up.

I think they have to do it. But they like to be the ones driving the deals - they don't always do what outsiders think they "have" to do.