Fletcher Smith, the agent for Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, confirmed this morning an ESPN.com report that said McNabb will receive $5.3 million in new money from the two-year restructuring the Eagles worked with his client Thursday night. That means the final two years of McNabb's contract is now worth $24.5 million with a good portion of that guaranteed.
Smith said the deal makes McNabb one of the three or four highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL. He also said he believed the sides would have worked out an extension a few years ago if it had not been for a series of injuries that prematurely ended McNabb's 2005 and 2006 seasons.
Eagles president Joe Banner said the two sides almost immediately started talking about a two-year restucture rather than an extension when conversations started with a meeting in late February.
"It was appropriate to make some adjustments so that he was rewarded commensurate with the way he plays," Banner said. "At the risk of saying something very counterintuitive, it was the fair thing to do. We do try to be fair with the guys. In this situation, we felt if we didn't make an adjustment in light of where he was at in the timing of the contract, it wouldn't be fair. That motivated us. He obviously had similar motivations and it worked out."
Banner said that the Eagles probably wouldn't consider an extension for McNabb at least until late in the 2010 season, which gives the team time to evaluate his play as well as the progress of backup Kevin Kolb, the team's first choice in the 2007 draft.
"We had a discussion: should we do a long-term deal or should we just address the two years?" Banner said. "Frankly, we both wanted to do something that was really simple, so that he could stay focused on football and the team was focused on having the best year it could. Very early, it was clear that with the complications of the unknowns it was going to be much easier to do two years. We were both fine with that so we just focused on that."
Banner was asked about how cornerback Sheldon Brown might react to McNabb's restructured deal given that the team has refused to address his contract situation.
"I don't see any comparisons between the two situations," Banner said. "We've said that there are a very limited number of what we'd say are extraordinary situations where the value of a contract and where the market warrant addressing a contract. Those are very rare. They're very much the exceptions. Obviously in this case we thought it met the criteria."