Alright, so the way I see it, this entire McNabb/playmakers/contract extension talk can be broken down four ways:
1. McNabb wants out! He’s done. Finished. Enough is enough. Sadly, this makes Deion Sanders look good. So why the whole restructuring deal talk? Glad you asked.
For one, it seems as though he made the effort to reason with the Eagles. He tried to make things work, but those damn Front Office guys just wouldn’t meet him halfway. Of course, behind closed doors, there wasn’t any deal he wanted – that’s why he moves to phase two. Well, maybe I’ll sign an extension, but only if you bring me back some playmakers. He knows the Eagles don’t like being told what to do from a player; he’s pushing some buttons, hoping his demands will make the Eagles more likely to deal him.
It’s not as though they can just tell the franchise QB to take a seat because they won’t renegotiate with him, and they aren’t going to make personnel moves based on the desires of their QB. McNabb might be trying to put them in a PR pickle. What looks like a power move is really a passive aggressive, smoke-and-mirrors play. We’ll call this the Straw Man theory.
2. McNabb is making a power move. He’s fine with staying, but he wants his money right, and he wants some more weapons to work with. After the benching, he wants the rest of his stay in Philly laden with guaranteed moolah. After years of taking the hit for every Eagles loss, he wants some ballers to lighten his load. He’s done pussy-footing around; it’s now or never, Eagles, and if you don’t like it, you can just ship him out. We’ll call this The Battle at Wounded Ego theory.
3. The Eagles aren’t biting, and Donovan is making his final stand. They had their meeting, and the FO said, “Uh, sorry Dunavin, but you’re still under contract. Which we expect you to honor. Guaranteed money? Hah – we scoff at your guaranteed money.”
So this angers Donovan. And thus, he attempts to align himself with the fans, garner up some momentum, and essentially prove that the public is behind him and his appeal for playmakers. Because we all want more weapons for this team, right? And most people would prefer to have Donovan back. Seems a logical enough stance. At this point, I don’t think he cares whether or not he gets traded, though he probably figures his best chance to win is still in Philly, especially with an upgrade or two. Chicago? At best, a lateral move. Minny is now spoken for. Maybe the Bucs, but that is also, at best, a lateral move.
Philly makes sense, but only if they pay up. We’ll call this the Only Press in Case of Emergency theory.
4. This one is probably out of left field, but nobody is mentioning it, so I figured I’d throw it out there. The Eagles and the FO met, cleared the air on some things, discussed Donovan’s contract, etc. This is how the convo went.
Front Office: Listen, Donovan, we want to work this thing out, we really do. We’d like to take some time, really come up with an arrangement that works for both sides. But here’s the thing: we’re busy as hell right now. We’ve got the Combine going, free agency is coming up, we’ve got to prepare for the draft, etc. Time is precious right now, and we can’t dedicate too much of it to contract discussions, seeing as you are under contract already and won’t be hitting the market. Especially when we’re still talking to some of our own who we would like to bring back. We’re not biding time – we want to make this work. You’re our guy, you give us the best chance to win, and we aren’t willing to lose the face of our franchise, not when he has good years left. We just need to handle a few other things, that’s all.
McNabb: Yeah, alright, that’s all fine and good, but the longer this drags out, the weaker I look. Everybody starts yapping it up about how you guys are stiff-arming me, and whatever we do agree to, people will say, “Oh, Donovan got pushed around. He took less of a deal. He’s all talk.” Truthfully, I’m tired of always taking the hit on everything. It doesn’t speak well for me if I’m kept on the backburner, and truthfully, I don’t want to be kept on the backburner. I understand your position, but shouldn’t the franchise player warrant some priority?
FO: Well, what if there was a way you could buy yourself some time…
Fletcher Smith: What if we leaked that Donovan wanted to wait and see what you guys did in the offseason before he made a commitment? You know, does the whole “playmaker” thing again?
FO: Alright, but now our balls are in the vice, because that will make it seem as though Donovan is forcing our hand. We don’t want to appear publicly pliable at the hands of our players – it isn’t good business.
Smith: Alright, then when we leak it, we make sure it is an unnamed source. You deny it, we keep quiet, that old bag. We don’t leak it to a local writer, because that will seem like a move made to gauge the temperature of the fans. The story will get national press even if it is reported to a local guy, but I got a guy who will write the story the way I want it. Then, we shut up about it until after the draft, when Donovan notes – regardless of the moves you make – that he really likes the direction this team is headed. Yes, publicly, Donovan will perhaps appear to have “won” this one, but you get the time to handle your offseason business, and in our book, it completely erases the sting of the benching. Or, we do the deal now. You guys pick. One or the other.
FO: We’ll take this hit. But Donovan, after we announce whatever restructuring we come up with, you staunchly deny ever saying you were waiting to see what we did, personnel-wise, before negotiations began. You always knew it would be a process, one that would take some time, and you’re just glad it is done and over with. In fact, we’ll prepare the statement for you, don’t you worry about that. We’ll never publicly say the benching was a wrong move, so consider this the redemption you clearly need. See you in May.
We’ll call this My Ridiculous Notion of Back-Door Politicking Because I’m Still Obsessed with “The Wire” theory.
Best case scenario is number four. Best case scenario that actually makes sense is number two. Worst case scenario is number one. And most likely scenario is number three. Sure is fun to talk about.
C’mon, Eagles, go get some weapons. Hell, some people would even take Marvin Harrison. I’m not one of them, but the people are with Donovan on this one. Do the right thing, pay the man, and get him some more help. WE WANT A SUPERBOWL, FOR CHRISSAKES!
So wait – the Eagles looking for weapons, and Marvin Harrison is available…do you want to make the joke, or should I?