UPDATED: The Eagles said today they will receive two compensatory picks, both in the seventh round, in next month's NFL draft for free agent losses suffered last year.
UPDATED: The courtship of Mike Bell has taken another twist.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, who earlier today said the deadline for the Saints to match their offer sheet to the restricted free agent running back was midnight tonight, said this afternoon that the league now has told him the deadline is tomorrow instead.
Either way, the Saints aren’t expected to match the offer.
There has been confusion over exactly when the seven days is up, the time the Saints have to match the Eagles' offer to restricted free agent Mike Bell. Reports last week indicated that since the paperwork was filed with the league on Wednesday, Tuesday midnight would mark the expiration of New Orleans' rights.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman confirmed that is incorrect. The clock started when they tendered Bell last Tuesday. The Eagles say the Saints have until midnight tonight to match, or Bell becomes an Eagle. It is unclear whether the Saints intend to inform the league of their decision earlier than the deadline.
"I don't think they are going to match, but who knows?" coach Andy Reid said today.
Bell's offer sheet was for $1.7 million.
Teams are expected to find out their compensatory draft picks tomorrow. The Eagles likely will get two low-round selections for their losses in free agency before last season.
The announcement of the marquee opening weekend games and Thanksgiving has been tentatively pushed back a day until tomorrow.
Before the scouting combine, the Daily News' Paul Domowitch assessed the potential trade market for Donovan McNabb, listing his 10 most likely landing spots.
Much has changed on the quarterback landscape since, presumably contracting the market for McNabb, especially given what it would take to get him from the Eagles.
As the NFL owners continue their meetings in Orlando, here is what we said then and where things stand now for each team:
Then: A marriage made in heaven. A Super Bowl contender that runs the West Coast offense and is coached by McNabb's old offensive coordinator (Brad Childress). This deal would get done in a minute if Brett Favre were to announce his retirement. But most people close to the situation, including Childress, expect Favre to return.
Now: Childress visited Favre in Mississippi in early March to check in on his quarterback. The two reportedly exchange text messages regularly, but there does not seem to be any urgency for a decision. "Would it be nice to know sooner rather than later?," Childress said recently. "Yeah, but you have to be able to deal with ambiguity in this business whether you’re a coach or a player.”
Then: I'm guessing that neither Browns president Mike Holmgren nor new general manager Tom Heckert saw anything in the tape of Brady Quinn's nine starts last season (53.1 completion percentage, 5.23 yards per attempt) that convinced them he's the team's answer at QB. But right now, Holmgren's body language suggests he's inclined to give Quinn one more shot before looking elsewhere.
Now: The Browns shipped Brady Quinn to Denver and released Derek Anderson. They signed Jake Delhomme to a two-year deal that will pay him $7 million this year. They have acquired Seneca Wallace from Seattle, presumably as a backup, although Delhomme said the starting job has not been promised to him. And Mike Holmgren told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he does not expect to select a quarterback in the first few rounds of the draft, in part because he is not sold on Jimmy Clausen or Tim Tebow.
Then: Mike Singletary said Alex Smith is his starter going forward, but isn't married to the idea. "We're always trying to get better at that position," he said. "It's a very important position and we're always looking at it." With two first-round picks (Nos. 13 and 16), Niners could trade one of them for McNabb and still add an impact player in the draft.
Now: Singletary said at the scouting combine that Smith was the Niners' quarterback. The team also signed David Carr, a former first-round draft pick of the Houston Texans. Carr spent last season as the backup for the Giants behind Eli Manning. A lot of NFL people question whether Smith is really the answer for San Francisco, but the sense is, the 49ers think he is, and they're the ones who would have to be convinced to make a trade.
Then: Kyle Orton did a decent job of running Josh McDaniels' offense (62.1 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 86.8 passer rating). But the Broncos' second-half collapse will weigh heavily on offseason personnel decisions.
Now: The Broncos acquired Brady Quinn from the Browns last week, but owner Pat Bowlen told the Denver Post that Orton is "still our quarterback, absolutely. Quinn hasn't beaten Kyle out. He hasn't thrown a football." Still, with Orton and Quinn, the Broncos have two quarterbacks in the fold. They are unlikely to be in the market for more.
Then: When Kurt Warner announced his retirement, the Arizona desert seemed like the perfect landing spot for McNabb. Cards are a Super Bowl contender. Warner's on-site successor, former first-round pick Matt Leinart, still is a major question mark. McNabb makes his offseason home in suburban Phoenix, just down the street from head coach Ken Whisenhunt. But Cards GM Rod Graves isn't a big risk-taker. He's also the guy who drafted Leinart.
Now: Leinart remains the leading candidate to start, although the Cardinals did sign former Browns QB Derek Anderson, who is expected to challenge for the starting role. "We have seen a tremendous amount of growth from Matt. He has worked hard," coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters, "but I am also excited about Derek and there will be competition at that position." There has been no hint of momentum toward McNabb.
Then: Jake Delhomme averaged an interception every 18 attempts last season before getting hurt. Right now, their likely 2010 starter is Matt Moore, who guided them to a 4-1 finish and had a 98.5 passer rating. They'd probably be interested in McNabb. Trouble is, they don't have a first-round pick this year, which is what the Eagles would be looking for.
Now: The Panthers released Delhomme on the eve of free agency, meaning they will have a new starter for the first time since 2003. Team officials said they intend to move forward with Moore as their starter, but they still need another quarterback either through a trade, free agency or the draft. How willing will they be to absorb the growing pains of a young quarterback? Still, they don't appear to have enough to get McNabb, unless the price drops.
Then: Matt Hasselbeck threw a career-high 17 interceptions and had a 75.1 passer rating. He turns 35 in September and has a new head coach with no ties to him. Seahawks likely will explore other QB options, and have an extra first-round pick (Nos. 6 and 14) at their disposal.
Now: The Seahawks shipped backup Seneca Wallace to Cleveland for a conditional seventh-round pick, then went out and traded for San Diego backup Charlie Whitehurst, giving him a $5 million a year contract that indicates they see him as their QB. Before that, they definitely had expressed interest in Kevin Kolb, and one report said they also had talked to the Eagles about McNabb. The Eagles and Seahawks completed a trade last week for defensive end Darryl Tapp and Eagles GM Howie Roseman conceded that deal came out of conversations about a number of other things that began at the scouting combine.
Then: David Garrard hasn't had a passer rating above 83.5 the last 2 years. His coach, Jack Del Rio, called him a "middle-tier" QB at the end of the season, which wasn't meant as high praise. Bringing in McNabb would upgrade the position and almost certainly perk up their embarrassing attendance numbers.
Now: Nothing has really changed here. Garrard is still the starter with Luke McCown as his backup.
Then: Jay Cutler had an uneven season, but finished strong, throwing eight TDs and just one INT in the Bears' last two games. Finished with a career-best 27 TDs. Bears changed offensive coordinators, but they're not expected to change QBs.
Now: The biggest change with the Bears is that Mike Martz has been hired as offensive coordinator to replace the fired Ron Turner. The Bears gave up a lot to get Cutler from the Broncos before last season and it seems unlikely they will give up on him. Chicago also has upgraded its running game, bringing in veteran Chester Taylor.
Then: JaMarcus Russell is fat and lazy and had a league-worst 50.0 passer rating last season. But crazy Al Davis still is holding out hope that the light will go on and the kid will become a decent quarterback. He's not going to give up the eighth pick in the draft for a 33-year-old QB, and hell will freeze over before McNabb would ever agree to sign an extension with this inept organization.
Now: Al Davis is still crazy, but Russell is apparently much lighter. He reportedly has spent the last month getting himself in better shape and showed up for offseason workouts much slimmer than he was last season.
Overall, in the absence of any momentum toward a McNabb contract extension, it sure seems the Eagles are open to trading their franchise QB. But quite a few potential trade partners have moved on with their plans. If there is a market, it's probably for something like a second-round pick now and conditional picks in the future, from a team that would present an attractive enough situation that it could sign McNabb to an extension. That's a very tight window to hit. Unless Favre suddenly retires, the most likely scenario is that McNabb starts the 2010 season as the Birds' QB.