As this season trudges to an inglorious finish, the Eagles needed to make a roster move to bring aboard FB/TE Emil Igwenagu to back up Clay Harbor, with Brent Celek sidelined for Thursday's game against Cincinnati.
According to agent Peter Schaffer, who represents defensive tackle Mike Patterson, that move will be to place Patterson on the nonfootball injury list, ending Patterson's season. But that isn't the part that has Schaffer angry enough to plan to file a grievance with the NFL.
When you designate a player as not having been injured in a football-related activity, you can take part of his remaining salary back. The Eagles, who took back about $1 million from Patterson earlier, as his recovery from offseason brain surgery stretched into mideseason, elected to take about $125,000 of what remains due to Patterson this year, Schaffer said, after Patterson was hospitalized last week with viral pneumonia.
"Winning teams don't do this to their classiest players," Schaffer said Wednesday.
Patterson, 29, is the longest-tenured Eagle, having arrived in the first round of the 2005 draft.
Schaffer said Roseman's reasoning was "Well, what did we get out of him this year?"
Asked to respond, the Eagles issued the following statement: "Our number one priority is to get Mike Patterson well enough to get back on the football field. He has worked hard this year to get back and he has our full support as an organization."
Patterson has played in only five games, making three solo tackles and notching one sack.
Schaffer said he asked Roseman what he got out of quarterback Michael Vick, who made $12.5 million this year, or recently released defensive end Jason Babin, who carried a $5 million base number.
Schaffer also represents Dallas nosetackle Josh Brent, who at this point is still being paid, despite his indictment on manslaughter charges following a weekend auto accident that took the life of practice squad teammate Jerry Brown.
Schaffer said his grievance will be based on the notion that viral pneumonia is not by definition nonfootball-related. Patterson could have gotten it practicing, working out or playing.
"I have immense respect for (Eagles head athletic trainer) Rick Burkholder," Schaffer said. "If Rick or a doctor can tell me that Mike's pneumonia is definitely not football-related, I will withdraw my grievance. But this is not E. Coli."
The tiff is a curious one because since team president Joe Banner left for Cleveland, the Eagles have made a priority of improving the locker room perception of management. It could be management feels that shift didn't yield any benefit.
But Schaffer also is an agent who over the years has enjoyed a close relationship to the Eagles, particularly to Banner and Roseman, who themselves are no longer close, in the wake of Banner's departure.