Yesterday, we rounded up national opinion on the newly restructured contract between Donovan McNabb and the Eagles.
But one name we had yet to hear from at the time of the post was Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
King chimed in on the McNabb deal as one of the lead items of his Monday Morning Quarterback column today.
The McNabb deal makes sense, there's nothing sinister about it. "Donovan's contract yelled out that it needed to be adjusted,'' said Eagles president Joe Banner. Due $9.2 million this year and $10 million next year before the deal dissolved, McNabb had $5.2 million added to the next two years. That's it. As for the buzz over the past three months that McNabb was demanding a new deal, Banner contends it never happened.
Banner said it took six or seven conversations with Smith to get it done. The reason it hadn't been done earlier is because McNabb, from 2002 to 2006, missed 20 games due to injury, and the Eagles just didn't know if he could stay healthy. With McNabb missing two games over the past two years, the time was right to be fair to him.
So there you have it.
An interesting nugget later in his column. King says Tom Brady is next in line for a big deal, and his agent likely took notice of the McNabb news. Per King, McNabb is currently in line to make $10 million more than Brady over the next two seasons.
Initially I had planned to lead this morning with a Donovan McNabb vs. Eli Manning debate, but the Inquirer folks beat me to it. In their You Talking to Me? feature, John Gonzalez, Ashley Fox and Bob Ford break down the argument.
So why are we talking about this in the middle of June?
A couple of recently released lists have spurred the conversation.
Last week, ESPN.com's Matt Mosley put together a list of 10 players who he deemed the ultimate building blocks in the NFC East. Manning made the list at No. 1 and McNabb received only an honorable mention. The Eagles on his list were Asante Samuel (No. 4), Jason Peters (No. 5) and Brian Westbrook (No. 10). DeSean Jackson and Trent Cole joined McNabb among the honorable mentions.
Here was Mosley's justification for Manning:
I think Tony Romo is capable of breaking through in the playoffs, but give me the young guy who has already done it. Manning is about to have a huge season. I'm talking MVP-caliber season.
A reader questioned Mosley's selection of Manning over McNabb in a mailbag. The reader was actually a Cowboys fan, but also a Syracuse grad. Here was Mosley's response:
I was putting together the 10 players that would serve as the core of the team for the next three seasons. If you're deciding between Eli Manning and Donovan McNabb, you have to go with the guy who's actually won a ring. McNabb's still an above-average quarterback in the league, but in three years, I think he'll be winding things down. Manning should still be in his peak years.
I'm fine with using Eli's ring as justification for him being ahead of McNabb, but I always counter with this: If Manning were quarterbacking the Eagles during the recent era, do you think he would have made the difference between them winning a Super Bowl and them coming up just short? I say no.
But then again, if McNabb had been quarterbacking the Giants, you can't say for sure he would have led them to a championship.
The other list that has sparked the debate is from FoxSports.com's Peter Schrager, who ranks the top 99 players in the league, based on the following criteria:
1. Which player would I rather have on my team?
2. Which player would make the most impact on my team?
3. Which player will be the best in 2009, specifically?
Schrager ranks Manning No. 17 and McNabb No. 23, calling Donovan the single hardest player to rank:
The single hardest person to place on this list, McNabb could have been slotted anywhere from No. 5 to No. 50, and there would have been people who both supported and detested the placement. With Brian Dawkins now in Denver, he's the official heart-and-soul of the Eagles. There's a ton of expectations in Philly for '09. Lots of prognosticators have them taking a Lombardi back to the City of Brotherly Love next February. It's on you, Donovan.
Schrager has five quarterbacks ahead of both McNabb and Manning: Philip Rivers (No. 16), Drew Brees (No. 7), Ben Roethlisberger (No. 3), Tom Brady (No. 2), Peyton Manning (No. 1).
So have at it. What do you make of the rankings and the Eli/Donovan debate?