IN THE WAKE of the news that the Eagles have traded cornerback Sheldon Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong to the Cleveland Browns for a fourth-round pick, a fifth-round pick, and a player we've never heard of, my wife, LaVeta, has begun paying attention to the business side of football.
She's always been smarter than I am, so with a little research, she easily figured out that the Philadelphia Eagles, who have also spoken of trading franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb, have mastered the art of moving people before they decline. After some digging, she learned that they've been right most of the time.
They were right on Troy Vincent, who was replaced by the now-departed Sheldon Brown. They were right on Jeremiah Trotter, whose shredded knees gave out five minutes after he hit the jackpot with the Washington Redskins. They were right on Hugh Douglas, who took a boatload of money from the Jacksonville Jaguars before his worn-out shoulder betrayed him.
Her curiosity piqued by the Eagles' track record, LaVeta began listening to their rationale for trading Sheldon. She heard general manager Howie Roseman deny that the team is rebuilding, even as it jettisons everybody but the waterboy. She heard the Eagles' brain trust say that none of the moves was about money, although it's hard to ignore Brown's contract demands and McNabb's outsized numbers for the coming year. She also heard them say they were in it to win.
Perhaps that's why, when the mechanic told her that it might be time to change the water pump and timing belt on her car, LaVeta adopted the home team's
business model. She put the pedal to the metal, and decided that she would make a move involving her franchise player - me.
The details of the trade were worked out late yesterday, and by evening, I was cleaning out my locker.
"Where's Daddy going?" the kids asked when they saw me packing up my laptop.
"He's been traded," LaVeta said.
The kids began to wail.
"It's OK." She patted them on their heads and dried their tears. "Daddy still has a few good years left, so we're going to move him while we can."
"But he's our daddy!" Eve cried, grabbing my leg and refusing to let go.
Little Solomon joined the scrum, and LaVeta did what any good general manager would do. She called security.
"You kids are just like those pesky Eagles fans," she said as four guards ushered me out. "You're too caught up in all the things Daddy's done for us in the past. This is about the future, and we believe that with the veteran leadership we have left in this house, we can go for it all this year."
Eve, at age 8, has a good head for business, so as I stared through the window at the family that had traded me, my baby posed the question that we all wanted answered.
"Well," she said, while sniffling and wiping her eyes, "did you at least get something in return for Daddy?"
"Of course!" LaVeta exclaimed. "I got a timing belt, a water pump, and two fifth-round picks in the upcoming daddy draft. Not only will the car be running for years to come. Your new daddy's cholesterol will be way under 200. We'll be able to eat fried foods again! Isn't that great?"
The kids wailed. LaVeta grinned. I took my laptop and went home to my mother.
OK, maybe none of this really happened. Maybe I didn't get traded for car parts and college kids. But if the world were like the NFL, this could happen to any of us. That's why we must do everything we can to stop our wives from becoming too interested in football. Once they grasp the concept of trading away a man while he still has tread on his tires, none of us will be safe.
Not even me.
Solomon Jones' column appears every Saturday. He can be reached at