While Donovan McNabb likely will remain the Eagles’ starting quarterback for the next 2 seasons, I’ve got to disagree with those who think his recently-reworked contract makes that a given.
With or without his restructured deal, McNabb was going to be the team’s No. 1 quarterback this season. But his future with the Eagles beyond 2009 still will be determined by how he and the team do this season. His reworked deal doesn’t change that.
Let me explain. Under the previous terms of McNabb’s contract, the quarterback was scheduled to receive non-guaranteed base salaries of $9.2 million this year and $10 million in 2010.
Under the new terms, that $9.2 million this year is guaranteed, which really is irrelevant, since he was going to get that anyway if he was on the team’s season-opening roster. He also will get a $2.8 million roster bonus later this week and per-game bonuses that total another $500,000 if he is active for all 16 regular-season games.
But the restructuring of the final year of his deal in no way makes it onerous for the Eagles to trade or release him after the ’09 season if they decide it’s time to make a switch to Kevin Kolb.
While McNabb can pocket an extra $1.2 million in the final year of the reworked deal, just $3.5 million of his 2010 money is guaranteed, which is hardly enough to make the Eagles think twice about getting rid of him. Under the reworked terms, his base salary dropped from $10 million to $5 million, with the aforementioned $3.5 million of it guaranteed. He also has a $6.2 million roster bonus payable on May 5 of next year, in addition to $500,000 more in per-game bonuses.
But just as the Eagles did with Terrell Owens, when they released him before he was due a sizeable offseason roster bonus, they can release McNabb prior to next May and won’t be on the hook for a penny of that $6.2 million. All McNabb would be owed for 2010 is that $3.5 million guaranteed portion of his salary.
Bottom line, McNabb’s future with the Eagles beyond this season still will be determined by how this season goes. If he stays healthy and puts up big numbers and leads his team deep into the playoffs, he’ll be back. If he doesn’t, and/or the Eagles underachieve this season, Kevin Kolb will get his chance in 2010. McNabb’s restructured contract doesn’t change that.