McNabb's $6.3 million benching

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Eagles QB Donovan McNabb (right) and head coach Andy Reid are all smiles at a press conference where they announced that McNabb's contract has been reworked. (Clem Murray / Staff Photographer)

ESPN is reporting that Donovan McNabb's new contract adds a potential total of $6.3 million to the value of the deal over two seasons, including incentives. It was worth $19.2 million and now it could be worth $25.5 million.

You wonder if Andy Reid knew it would cost the team that much when he benched McNabb that day in Baltimore.

Because that's what this is -- flowers, candy and $6.3 million all wrapped up in a pretty bow. It isn't an apology, not exactly, but it is an acknowledgment that the relationship changed on the day when Reid had quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur tell a terribly-struggling McNabb to sit down at halftime against the Baltimore Ravens. McNabb was personally offended and could not hide the fact. He would never acknowledge the struggles and would never acknowledge that aftermath -- that is, he ended a month-long slump and played much better after the benching.

It was more than that, though -- because despite Reid's denials, everybody believes that backup Kevin Kolb would have retained the job if he had found a way to beat the Ravens that day in a pretty impossible situation for a young quarterback. The truth was, McNabb's contract had made him disposable.

This contract makes him less disposable, at least a little bit. That the deal was not extended beyond 2010 is significant, leaving all options open. But in the here and now, depending upon the level of guarantees put into the deal for 2010, another benching just got less likely from a financial standpoint.

So, on a cosmic level, McNabb got to win one here. He got to reassert his McNabb-ness. He forced the Eagles to demonstrate to the world that he is still strong and still valued. All of this boiled over that day in Baltimore, and now it is finally resolved.

Now, all he has to do is win the last game.

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