Sheldon uses Westbrook deal to support case

Something I meant to get to yesterday but wasn't able to, given all the other news.

Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown spoke to WIP's Morning Show yesterday about his contract situation. He had talked to both The Inquirer and Daily News earlier this week, but something he said to Angelo Cataldi and company caught my attention.

It was in reference to the Eagles' decision to rework Brian Westbrook's contract prior to last season.

"At the end of the day, you’re saying, 'If I do it for him, I can’t do it for another guy,'" Brown said. "Well I didn’t start the floodgate. It opened when Brian [Westbrook] had three years left on his deal. Yeah but you have four. Well if that’s the case, say ‘We did it with Brian with three. You have four. Play one more.’ But now don’t bring that up and say ‘Oh but you have four.’ That’s just because it’s something that makes you look good."

Brown, of course, is pointing out that the Eagles chose to rework Westbrook's contract when he had three years left. His argument is: Why should reworking my deal, which has four years left, be so crazy?

It's an interesting comparison because Jon Runyan also brought up Westbrook's contract earlier this week during an ESPN 950 interview with Mike Missanelli.

Here's what Runyan said when asked if the Eagles were trying to send a message to everyone with their sharp response this week.

"It’s a message for this one. Everybody has their own," he said. "Brian Westbrook went through the same thing last year and ultimately got it done so it’s just one of those games everybody plays. That’s the thing. Depending on who it is and what your value is, the rules of the game change also."

It's clear that Eagles players took notice when the team reworked Westbrook's contract.

And interestingly enough, that might have been something the Eagles' brass anticipated.

I went into the archives to find Joe Banner's comments after the Eagles announced the new Westbrook contract. Banner recalled a deal with Brian Dawkins two years earlier and compared it to Westbrook's.

"We think of [Dawkins] as a Hall of Fame-caliber player. I feel like I'm standing up here again right before the first preseason game of the season, we're talking about a Hall of Fame-caliber player," Banner told the Daily News. "This is a premier guy, leader, player. What he has done over the last few weeks here, with this going on, and still working - he came out there when he had strep throat and practiced. When he had an excuse, regardless of what was going on. He just wants to win so badly. He wants the team to be the best it can be.

"That's what drove him; it's what has always driven him. If you put the same things I said about Dawkins a few years ago, if you take somebody with that kind of talent, and those kind of intangibles that they bring to your team, in who they are in their heart, in their head, that is the guy you want to make sure is feeling good about things, if you possibly can."

The message seems clear. If the franchise values you at a certain level, it's willing to make concessions, as was the case with Westbrook. And as may be the case with Donovan McNabb if the team reworks his deal this offseason.

But for others like Lito Sheppard and Brown, sounding off really isn't going to get you anywhere.


Much more today, including a draft profile of Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy, who Sports Illustrated projects as the Eagles' pick.

Plus we have a draft chat with the Daily News' Paul Domowitch at noon.

And I'll be hosting a chat Saturday during the first round of the draft.

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