Indications are that the Eagles and Andy Reid will agree on a contract extension for the coach in the not-too-distant future.
"Andy definitely wants to stay in Philadelphia, and the team definitely wants him to stay in Philadelphia," the coach's agent, Bob LaMonte, said yesterday by phone.
LaMonte confirmed reports from last week that the sides are in the midst of negotiations that would extend Reid's contract beyond the 2010 season. He said there is no timetable for those talks, but he didn't rule out that something could be done in the near future.
LaMonte declined to talk about the specifics of any potential deal, including the length and amount.
First, let's deal with the years.
Jeffrey Lurie said a few years ago he could envision Reid being the Eagles' coach as long as Lurie was the team's owner. In a position where a lot of men lack patience, Lurie seems to have an infinite amount when it comes to winning an NFL title.
So does Reid get the presidential treatment of four more years, taking him through the 2014 season?
History shows some great coaches took a long time before winning their first Super Bowl. Dallas' Tom Landry didn't win his first title until his 12th season. Tony Dungy won in his 11th season as a head coach, but only after being fired by Tampa Bay, mostly because his Bucs couldn't get past Reid's Eagles in the postseason.
The Giants' Tom Coughlin was in his 12th season as an NFL coach when he claimed his first title, but only after being fired by Jacksonville. Bill Cowher needed 13 years before he could hoist a Vince Lombardi Trophy in Pittsburgh.
If Lurie thinks that it's just a matter of time until Reid leads the Eagles to the ultimate goal, then there's no reason he shouldn't give him four more years.
Question No. 2: What's the price tag?
Though there's no official place to go to find exactly what NFL coaches make, it was reported when Reid signed his last deal just before the start of the 2004 season, to take effect starting in 2007, that he received somewhere around $17 million, an average of $4.25 million per season.
At the time, Reid's deal was slightly less than the Dallas Cowboys reportedly paid Bill Parcells to become their head coach in 2003 and quite a bit less than the reported $5.7 million per season the Washington Redskins paid Joe Gibbs to return as their head coach in 2004.
Granted, Parcells and Gibbs both had multiple Super Bowl titles in their past when they signed their deals, but that was in the past. Parcells and Gibbs both went 3-5 against Reid's Eagles during their respective stints in Dallas and Washington. Reid's Eagles won three NFC East titles and made three more NFC championship game appearances and one Super Bowl appearance during the time when one or both of the coaching legends was back in the NFC East.
Parcells and Gibbs have again exited the profession, but Reid remains the second-highest paid coach in the NFC East, with the title now belonging to the Giants' Coughlin. After leading the Giants to a Super Bowl upset of New England, Coughlin received a four-year extension worth a reported $21 million. That's $5.25 million per year.
Reid's resumé is certainly comparable to Coughlin's. Reid's career record in the regular season is 100-63-1. Coughlin, who has been in the league three more years than Reid, has a 120-93 record. That's advantage Reid in winning percentage.
Reid's playoff record is 10-7. Coughlin's is 8-7. Again, advantage Reid.
Head to head, Reid is 6-7 against Coughlin, but 2-0 in playoff meetings, including a road upset last season at Giants Stadium.
It could easily be argued that Reid should make at least as much as his coaching peer from the Giants, but when negotiations between the Eagles and Reid's agent truly intensify, there's another issue that likely needs to be discussed.
Given the current state of the Redskins and Cowboys, it's entirely possible that owners Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones could be in the market for new coaches in the near future. There are some big names available, including Cowher, Mike Holmgren, Jon Gruden and Dungy. Those men, should they choose to return to one of those two elite NFL markets, will receive large sums of money. All of the above, of course, have that one thing on the resumé that Reid doesn't: a Super Bowl title.
How much is a Super Bowl victory worth and how long can you wait for one?
Those are the issues the Eagles and Reid must agree upon.