<
>

Weekend mailbag: Eagles' future

No game tonight in our fair division, so I'm'a dip into the mailbag, take a few questions and then knock off for the rest of the day.

st8prop from Atlanta read Andrew Brandt's recent story on the Logan Mankins contract in New England and wonders why the Giants don't apply a similar "cash-for-cap" concept to a new contract for Osi Umenyiora. St8prop specifically asks if the reason the Giants don't do this is because cash-vs.-cap isn't the issue in the Umenyiora situation.

Dan Graziano: I believe you're 100 percent correct, St8. I don't think the Giants feel any motivation whatsoever to re-work Umenyiora's deal. They don't have to and don't want to -- didn't even before he had his knee surgery Friday. It's not a matter of not having enough money or cap room to pay Umenyiora. It's a matter of the team believing he has the contract he's supposed to have and should play for it. Totally different from Mankins' situation and from DeSean Jackson's situation in Philadelphia, where all parties agree Jackson's underpaid and that something needs to be done. From the Giants' standpoint, the Umenyiora situation didn't need correcting.


Ben from Washington, D.C., asks, assuming John Beck wins the Redskins' starting quarterback job, how long a leash the team will give him before switching to Grossman. "If they start 0-2, 1-3, do they pull the plug?" Ben asks.

DG: I think it's going to have more to do with what they see from Beck specifically. They'd never admit this out loud, but in their heart of hearts I'll bet the Redskins' coaches know they're in the early part of a rebuilding project and that it's going to be tough for them to contend for the playoffs this year. For that reason, I don't think they make a quarterback switch just because of a poor won-loss record start. I think they'd do it if they felt like Beck was overwhelmed and unable to handle the responsibility of being a starter. If they feel like he's showing good signs and making progress but losing anyway, I believe the leash will be long.


Brad from Minneapolis points out that many of the free agents the Eagles signed during their recent spree are on one-year contracts and wonders if that indicates that they're "building both for this year and the future, as they could be in line for a bunch of compensatory picks in next years draft.

DG: Well, Brad, the Eagles would certainly have you believe that, and they've pointed it out several times in discussing their signings. While they're clearly loading up for a run at the Super Bowl this year, they bristle at the notion that they'd sacrifice part of their future to do so. And the one-year deals, along with the pick they got from the Cardinals along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kevin Kolb deal, help back them up.


Dale from Novato, Calif., asks whether the Cowboys would pick up a veteran wide receiver in case Kevin Ogletree and the rest of the young guys on the roster don't pan out in a No. 3 receiver role.

DG: Wrote about this this other day, Dale, but I don't think the Cowboys are viewing the No. 3 receiver as a top priority. With tight end Jason Witten and running back Felix Jones in the mix as major threats in the passing game, and with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant each looking to get his share of catches, the Cowboys believe they have plenty of options and that Ogletree or anyone they brought in to replace him would be a fourth or fifth option in the passing game at best. That's not to say they'd pass on a good deal if someone became available or if Austin or Bryant had an injury. But at this point, the sense I get is that they're planning to stick with what they have for now and see if it pans out.

I also did read all of the notes on the Michael Vick/Roger Goodell issue and the Tom Brady/Eli Manning issue. To those who offered kind words and compliments, thanks. To those who asked specific questions, I offer these answers: No, I am not an idiot. Yes, I was serious. No, I don't agree that I should be fired, but thanks for the suggestion. And I feel I explained somewhat thoroughly, in the writing of them, how I can think all of that stuff I wrote.

Love the mailbag. Keep it full, folks.