WHILE THE Donovan McNabb rumor mill whirled away yesterday, McNabb agent Fletcher Smith told the Daily News that they have not talked to the Eagles about possible trade destinations, or where McNabb would or would not sign a contract extension.
"If we get to that bridge, we'll have to cross it," Smith said. Until then, he said, he will stay away from hypothetical situations.
Yesterday's roundup of McNabb ballyhoo: An ESPN.com report from Len Pasquarelli said the Oakland Raiders are willing to trade corner Nnamdi Asomugha for McNabb, but the Eagles are reluctant to do that. There'd be a certain symmetry, since according to Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson, Oakland wouldn't require that McNabb be willing to extend his contract, and Asomugha is signed only through 2010 as well, at $16 million. ESPN's Adam Schefter said there is language in Asomugha's deal that would make it hard to franchise him for 2011.
Smith said he did not think a trade of McNabb seemed imminent, and with an Eagles source confirming that coach Andy Reid and team president Joe Banner are taking a few days off - Reid in Utah, Banner in Florida - Smith is most probably right about that.
Contrary to a Schefter report yesterday, Smith said he did not believe McNabb had spoken recently with Reid. Smith said that right now, there isn't that much for them to talk about.
The report said McNabb spoke to Reid on Thursday, and told the coach he wanted to stay in Philadelphia, did not want be traded to Oakland or Buffalo. A McNabb spokesman said yesterday afternoon that McNabb and Reid generally stay in contact in the offseason by texting each other, and that they have texted within the last few days. The spokesman said McNabb, indeed, wants to stay with the Eagles, but the spokesman said McNabb and Reid have not texted or spoken on that subject.
Smith questioned whether Reid's comments this week, acknowledging that the Birds are listening to offers for all three of their quarterbacks, constituted the definite signal of a McNabb trade that everyone assumed.
"He said they are listening to offers for all three quarterbacks, and you guys decided that means they're trading Donovan," Smith said. Smith was especially scornful of a Wednesday report that had McNabb on the verge of being traded to St. Louis.
Actually, the popular interpretation of Reid's remarks didn't require any Olympic-level conclusion jumping. Reid's admission about listening to offers, combined with a reluctance to repeat previous declarations that he expected McNabb to be the Birds' quarterback this season, signaled Reid was commencing the McNabb auction. McNabb's statement that he hoped the Eagles would resolve the matter quickly only bolstered that, and the Eagles have said nothing since then about Reid having been misinterpreted. One would think the matter would be addressed before the Eagles have to pay McNabb a $6.2 million roster bonus May 5.
Smith said that "given the sensitivity of the situation," he hopes the Eagles talk to McNabb about his preferences before they trade him, if they trade him.
"Donovan has been there a long time. I would think they would want to do right by him, reach out, tell him what their intentions are," said Smith, who engineered last year's reworking of McNabb's contract. The QB got more money but did not add years to the pact, giving him considerable say in a potentional trade. Obviously, if McNabb had, say, 3 years left on a deal, the Eagles could trade him anywhere, whether he liked it or not. They still can, but a refusal to sign an extension with his new team would affect the price McNabb might fetch.
A source experienced in NFL front-office operations said yesterday he thought the Birds would end up getting a second-round pick for the QB - but only if he is willing to do an extension.
If the Eagles don't end up trading McNabb, after what surely will be a long spring of endless rumors, can No. 5 take the helm and lead the team as if nothing had ever happened?
"There's always something, every offseason," Smith said. "It can't be any more difficult than T.O."
Buffalo safety Donte Whitner tweeted his enthusiasm for Donovan McNabb, after the Bills were mentioned in trade reports.
"I hope D+nvan McNabb comes to us. He's great," Whitner said.
Whitner also asked his nearly 10,000 followers whether they thought McNabb would be a good fit for the Bills. Early returns were positive. Whitner also mentioned that his mother and Wilma McNabb work together in an NFL moms' group.
Yahoo Sports reports Tennessee safety Eric Berry, projected to go in the top five in next month's draft, has a visit scheduled with the Eagles . . . The Eagles' draft choices are 24th in the first round, then 55th (second), 70th and 87th (third), 121st (fourth), 200th (sixth), then 243rd and 244th (seventh). *
For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the