Andrew's Answers: Tuesday's Mailbag

You wrote about DeSean and his drive for a new contract last week and you have written about Vick and his escalating value. How are the Eagles going to handle both negotiations? - -Tom L.

Very carefully. Both players scream “difference maker” in a league where every team is looking for them. Every time I watch, it is amazing that – playing against the best competition there is – they seem to play at a faster speed.

Jackson, unlike Vick, has a year left on his rookie contract, a four-year deal signed as a second-round pick in 2008. Despite that, he and agent Drew Rosenhaus will try to create angst in the Eagles’ front office if he is not addressed early in the offseason. His leverage is based on his enormous talent and potential petulance, but the fact Eagles have him under contract another season will prevent him from getting full retail value on his services.

Vick is obviously a different story. This MVP finalist was unwanted 15 months ago, third-string 8 months ago, and started the season behind a player just given a $12 million extension (Kevin Kolb). Now Vick is the player in the NFL who changes the game the most.

The Eagles -- normally proactive in negotiations -- are likely talking to agent Joel Segal about an extension. Whatever negotiations are or are not occurring, the Franchise tag will be very much in play. It would park Vick with the Eagles for another year at $15-18 million. Like Jackson, the leverage equation for Vick will be real or perceived unhappiness without a long-term deal.

These are good problems for the Eagles. part of what Zen master Andy Reid calls "a beautiful thing".

What did you think of the Redskins’ benching of Donovan McNabb? --Geoff M

I think this 2010 season is full of situations that fall under the heading of “Best laid plans…” Sometimes the plan sounds good when it starts and turns into something quite different. McNabb and the Redskins is one case of that this season; Brett Favre and the Vikings is another; and Randy Moss and the Vikings/Titans is another.

McNabb never meshed with Mike Shanahan (or his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan) either on the field or off. As an NFL executive who knows both well said: “Both Mike and Donovan are acquired tastes; and neither acquired a taste for each other.”

It is puzzling why the Redskins rewarded McNabb with an extension, as my sense was that they never embraced him as their quarterback. Yes, they are “only” on the hook for $3.5 million of new money if they shed him prior to next season, but what were they worried about in signing him early? That McNabb would receive a prohibitive offer in free agency? That they didn’t want to use the Franchise tag on him?

Despite the negative reports on McNabb’s contract, his worst-case scenario with the Redskins – which appears to be coming true – is that he walks away with a $3.5 million parting gift for his efforts. For the second straight year, he was given a bump in pay for the current season -- the Eagles did so in 2009 -- with the probable same result of leaving that team months later.

Again, “best laid plans..” Or, in the words of the eminent philosopher Mike Tyson: “I had a plan until I got punched in the face!”

With contracts like McNabb’s, there was differing information about the numbers. Are these numbers shared between the NFLPA and the NFLPA? --Rich R.

One of the interesting by-products of this unique uncapped year that we are here in 2010 is that, while the NFL and the NFLPA negotiate over a new CBA (or not), there are inconsistencies in what teams and agents are seeing as to contract numbers.

In a “normal” year, the NFL Management Council sends the union all data regarding player contracts. This is not a normal year. The CBA states that in this uncapped year the NFL is not required to forward its data for 2010 individual player and team compensation scheduled to be earned.

The NFLPA accounting of 2010 player contracts and team payroll this season is now heavily dependent upon information provided by agents rather than the NFL, a rare and unique consequence of the uncapped year we now live.

Do you think Brett is done? </strong> --Wisconsin

You're asking the wrong person here. I have never thought he was done and always predicted he would return, especially after he retired the first time.

The answer, though, is more about the Vikings or another possible employer than about Favre. If he gets the itch to play again come summertime, which he will, he'll need a place to play. Will the Vikings hold that door open again? Will anyone else? We'll see.

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