Haven't had a chance to write much about the big wet kiss that the Eagles gave Donovan McNabb last week. We all know the basics: that the Eagles threw about $5 million at their quarterback, in the year after he was benched and felt disrespected by the club, in an attempt to keep everybody happy and on the same page as they make another run at that elusive Super Bowl. And that's all fine.
Much has been made about how both remaining years of the contract were adjusted. The key provisions for 2010 are these: that $3.5 million of the money that season is guaranteed (none was guaranteed in the previous deal), and that there is a $6.2 million roster bonus that kicks in if McNabb is indeed on the roster on May 5, 2010.
Odd date, that May 5th. My first thought was that it was after the draft -- but, strangely, a few weeks after the draft. Now comes word that the draft might be moved to the first weekend in May next year, which means it will be only a couple of days after the draft. Interesting.
It seems to me that the draft will be the decision point for the club. At that time, McNabb either will be traded or have his deal extended.
People have said that this new contract gives McNabb two years to win the Super Bowl or be gone. I really see it as one year. I cannot imagine the Eagles would allow McNabb to play into the last year of his deal. Elite quarterbacks just don't do that, especially in a media market such as this one. Think about the furor that arose this off-season, the constant discussion and potential distraction, when McNabb had 2 years left on his deal. Can you imagine him playing a season with the contract set to expire at the end? I can't.
Think of how McNabb has dealt with this kind of thing. He was really insulted last season by the benching (and played better after it). But his demeanor has been off ever since then. He has become very hard to read, at least from this distance. Maybe he and the club are fine and the rest of this is just public relations, but I don't know. Something seemed to change with that benching -- and if McNabb were allowed to play into the last year of his deal, I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine about how it would affect him.
I think we're all going to be back in the same spot next spring. I really think the Eagles, in buying McNabb's happiness, bought only 1 year of peace.