|ESPN.com: NFC East||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
I think longtime Daily News beat man Les Bowen always does a nice job of putting Eagles controversies in perspective. In this case, he's reading between the lines regarding Tuesday's ESPN report that Donovan McNabb had a not-so-secret meeting last week with Andy Reid and Joe Banner to discuss his November benching and a potential contract extension.
ESPN's Michael Smith wrote that neither side wanted the meeting to become public, but someone obviously failed to hold up their side of the bargain. The most intriguing part of Smith's story was the suggestion that McNabb might request a trade if the Eagles don't do enough to surround him with talent. If you've ever wondered what it means to overplay your hand, it appears McNabb's about to show you how it's done.
As Bowen points out, it's silly to think the Eagles' scouting department will take a "What Would Donovan Do?" approach to the offseason. This is simply a player and agent performing some high-stakes posturing. And I don't think it's going to work. No matter how much Reid likes McNabb, he's not the type of man who responds well to ultimatums.
"It's important to remember that, whatever Eagles Nation might think of the team's approach to its offense, Reid and Banner think they've done just fine," writes Bowen. "They are not scurrying to fill the holes that talk-show callers perceive, any more than in previous offseasons. Whatever the merits of McNabb's request, it's hard to envision the Eagles offering him much beyond a general 'we're working to upgrade our team every way that we can.' McNabb has been here 10 years now; he knows who he's dealing with, knows, too, how they respond to attempts to muscle them, and to things being made public that they thought were going to stay private."
So what does Smith's report mean for both sides in this situation? For starters, it means you should brace yourself for another interesting offseason in Philly. I don't think the Eagles will respond to this report publicly, but behind closed doors something tells me they're not pleased. Can McNabb win the showdown in the courtroom of public opinion? I wouldn't count on it. The Eagles don't have a great alternative in Kevin Kolb, but they'll head in that direction before they allow a player to hold them hostage.