Eagles president Joe Banner said yesterday all contract discussions - or disputes - are not created equal.
That might explain why the team and quarterback Donovan McNabb could be moving closer to a renegotiated contract, as reported by Comcast SportsNet, and why the team and cornerback Sheldon Brown are not.
"I don't want to speak about individual situations, but we've been really clear that there are situations that warrant being addressed," Banner said yesterday after he helped paint a giant mural on the side of the Potter-Thomas School in Kensington during the Eagles Youth Partnership's 13th annual playground-building event. "We did it with Brian Westbrook. We're not sitting here with some inflexible absolute rule that says you sign a contract and you're toast."
The Eagles reworked Westbrook's contract last September with three years left on the deal.
"We're saying there are circumstances, and from our perspective they have to be fairly extreme, that warrant looking at a certain situation," Banner said. "Remember, Donovan is five years into a seven-year contract. Obviously, not only the numbers, but the distance somebody is into a contract will affect our evaluation as to whether something warrants being addressed."
Beyond that reference to McNabb, Banner would not comment on talks with McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith. Smith did not return calls yesterday.
McNabb has two years remaining on a deal he signed in 2002. This year's salary is for $9.2 million and next year he will make $10 million, but that money is not guaranteed. Comcast SportsNet reported that talks could involve guaranteeing some of the money in the next two years, if not an extension of the contract.
"I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't," McNabb said after yesterday's workout at the NovaCare Complex, referring to how much he speaks to the media while declining to discuss the contract situation.
His only other comment was that he thought the Los Angeles Lakers would beat the Orlando Magic in six games in the NBA Finals.
Late last season and earlier in the off-season, McNabb said he would like a new contract.
As for Brown, he continued to skip this camp, which is voluntary but has every other player in attendance. (Some players are not participating in drills because of injuries.)
Brown has four years remaining on his deal. He did not return phone or text messages seeking comment.
"Any of the situations that come up, they'll have their perspective and we'll have ours," Banner said. "Our hope is that they will match each other. You don't like having these kinds of disagreements, but when things don't match, we're just going to have to live with that."
Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said he believes McNabb has a lot of productive football left in him.
"I think he's right in the middle of his career," Mornhinweg said.
"Yes," Mornhinweg said. "He's right in the middle of an outstanding career, and I think one day he'll most likely be elected to the Hall of Fame. He has some more work to do to do that, but he's been playing at a high level for quite some time."
It appears as if at least two more years of that work will come with the Eagles. If the team decides to extend McNabb's deal beyond next season, then it is possible Kevin Kolb never will get a chance to be the Eagles' starting quarterback. Like McNabb, Kolb is signed only through next season.