Westbrook Gets $13 Million Guarantee

The Eagles and running back Brian Westbrook have agreed to terms on a new contract. (David Swanson/Inquirer)

    Brian Westbrook's new contract is a 52-page document, agent Todd France said Friday evening, a complicated deal designed to comply with collective bargaining agreement restrictions that caused it to be rejected by the NFL at least a couple of times, France said.

   Westbrook will be guaranteed $13 million over the next two years and should make $21 million over the three years that he had remaining on his previous deal. If he performs at his current level for three years, he will make $24 million.

    "There were constant obstacles from the team's perspective and our perspective," France said. "We'd start to work on something, then realize it wouldn't work, and we'd have to start over. I commed the Eagles for being willing to take care of a player who has taken care of them on the field."

     Eagles  president Joe Banner agreed. Banner, something of a contract connoisseur, said he looks over pretty much every deal done in the league, and this is the most complicated pact he has seen.

     "It's a complicated deal ... Eeverything I've ever seen is in this deal," Banner said just before the Eagles' preseason opener in Pittsburgh, for which the Eagles said Westbrook would not play. France made it clear Westbrook wanted the deal done before he risked being injured in a game,  though Banner said France and Westbrook never made any threats.

      Westbrook previously was to receive about $11 million -- not all guaranteed -- over the next three years.. There are three added years in the new deal, but they are there just so the structure would pass muster with the league. The figures for those years are prohibitive; the Eagles will either release Westbrook or rework his deal when that time comes.

The Daily News reported in today's editions that the deal was expected to be announced before tonight's preseason opener against Pittssburgh.

The Eagles generally are tough negotiators, particularly when a contract has years to run, but no less an authority than owner Jeffrey Lurie publicly acknowledged this week that Westbrook has outperformed his 5-year, $25 million deal. Last season, Westbrook was an All-Pro running back and set a franchise record with 2,104 yards from scrimmage. That figure led the NFL, as did Westbrook's 104 first downs.

Because the NFL owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement, uncapped years are coming up, which invokes the "Deion Rule," named after former star cornerback Deion Sanders. Basically, there can't be a huge disparity between Westbrook's signing bonus and his base salary. Also ticklish was the "30 percent rule," which, in this case, means 2010 can't be more than a 30 percent increase over what Westbrook made in 2009, not including a signing bonus.

Here is a portion of the press release from the team ...

The Philadelphia Eagles today announced they have agreed to terms with RB Brian Westbrook on a new contract. Terms of the deal were not announced.

“As I’ve said many times, I believe Brian Westbrook is the best running back in football,” said head coach Andy Reid. “He can do it all from that position, whether it’s running, catching the football or blocking. He is true professional and leader on and off the field and it’s a great deal for both Brian and the Eagles organization. I’d like to give credit to Joe Banner, Todd France and Brian for working so diligently in getting this deal done. We look forward to Brian having a great 2008 season and beyond.”

One of the game’s most electrifying offensive weapons and a two-time Pro Bowl selection, Westbrook has produced the second-highest yards from scrimmage total (6,768) since becoming a full-time starter in 2004. Only the Chargers LaDainian Tomlinson accumulated more in that span. Currently, he is the only active NFL player with 20-or-more touchdowns both rushing and receiving (27 rush, 23 receiving) in his career. Additionally, Westbrook leads all NFL running backs in receptions (338), receiving yards (3,121) and receiving touchdowns (23) since 2003.

The 28-year-old Westbrook posted a record-breaking campaign in 2007, as he led the NFL with a franchise-record 2,104 total yards from scrimmage, and became the first Eagle to rush for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons since Duce Staley (1998-99). He also led all NFL running backs with a team-record 90 receptions. For his efforts, Westbrook garnered multiple All-Pro honors, including a first-team selection from the Associated Press. The Eagles workhorse was also named to his second Pro Bowl, and was voted as the team’s offensive MVP for the second consecutive year.

Among Eagles running backs, Westbrook is the franchise career leader in yards per carry (4.7), and ranks second in yards per touch (5.9), yards from scrimmage (7,992) and receiving touchdowns (23). He also ranks fourth on the club’s all-time list in career rushing yards (4,788) and sixth in rushing touchdowns (27). With 17 career 100-yard rushing games (including the postseason), he trails only Wilbert Montgomery (26) and Steve Van Buren (19) for the most in team history.