Your Eagletarian has been away for awhile, recharging the batteries for training camp, which opens when rookies report to Lehigh on Sunday. Been kind of out of touch, trying to catch up. Doesn't look like we missed much.
Apparently, Michael Jackson died. Was there anything on TV about that?
The Eagles' landscape is remarkably quiet. On the team Web site discussion boards, a fan tried to work up a little hand-wringing over the fact that first-round pick Jeremy Maclin isn't signed yet. Site czar Dave Spadaro nipped that in the bud this morning with a quick assertion that "he should be signed before Sunday."
In fact, a source close to Maclin told your Eagletarian more than a month ago that the Missouri wideout chose St. Louis-based agents Jim Steiner and Ben Dogra not just because of geography, but at least partly because Steiner and Dogra understand the importance of having rookies in camp on time. The front office is so worried, team president Joe Banner is on vacation and Andrew Brandt, the former Packers exec helping out with Eagles contracts this summer, just Twittered that he is in the process of climbing California's Mount Whitney, as this site's Moving the Chains blog reported.
There don't seem to be any thorny issues to resolve. Maclin is the last unsigned Eagles pick. There is no hurry to announce his signing, nothing to be gained from getting it done early in the week rather than later. If there is any hangup, it might be that only a couple of first-rounders have signed, that Steiner and Dogra would like to get a little better feel for the deals for guys taken around Maclin's 19th spot.
Not much all that interesting being blogged about the Birds. Yesterday, over at the normally reliable the700level.com, a nugget of info we noted last month got polished and spun until it's barely recognizable. We're talking about the fact that Andy Reid is only signed through 2010, something we've been told was an issue in Donovan McNabb's decision to pursue a reworking of the final two years of his contract, rather than an extension. (Our feeling is that the difficulty in figuring out how much McNabb should be paid beyond 2010 had considerably more to do with the nonextension than any possible drama over Reid's future, but it's interesting that the McNabb camp sees his Eagles future tied to that of the coach.)
We talked to Reid agent Bob LaMonte last month, and he said he indeed expects talks on a new deal to commence before too much longer, probably later this year. As far as your Eagletarian can see, the key issue here is whether Reid, who has coached in and won more games than any coach in franchise history, wants to keep on doing this.
The700level folks feel "there was controversy" when Reid's contract was extended in 2004, because of the three successive NFC Championship Game losses, and that Reid was in danger of losing his job last season, before the stretch drive to the playoffs. They look at the current situation and see the issue being whether the Eagles are going to want to bring Reid back.
Well, in the blog post that brought all this up, more than a month ago, we did note that we won't know for sure that the Eagles want to extend Reid until they actually do it. But there has been no hint of any dissatisfaction. The Donovan McNabb Era might have ended if the Eagles had crashed and burned down the stretch last season; the Andy Reid Era almost certainly would not have. And 2004? That was the offseason the Eagles went out and got Jevon Kearse and T.O. I don't remember a lot of angst over Andy's extension.
As frustrating as all those Monday press conferences are, as maddening as the pass-run ratio and the overall clunky playcalling can get, the view from the rest of the NFL is that the Eagles are lucky to have Reid running things. Let's not rewrite history here, just because the man's personality isn't what we'd like. If Jeffrey Lurie and Joe Banner got tired of him, Reid would immediately become the most sought-after free agent coach in recent NFL history. He wouldn't need to spend a year as a TV analyst, ala Coach Chucky. (God, that's a horrifying thought: Andy as a TV analyst. Forget we brought it up.)
By far the most likely scenario is that Reid will get extended sometime before the end of the 2009 season. Unless, for some reason, that isn't what he wants.
Today, by the way, the700level fellas are on much more solid ground in their analysis of the Quintin Demps-Sean Jones battle for the free safety position.