Reid, Eagles Flinch First on McNabb Trade Talks

Andy Reid Donovan McNabb Philadelphia Eagles Trade Rumors

Big news from the NFL Annual Meeting: Andy Reid says he’s “listening to offers” for all three of the Eagles’ quarterbacks.

On the surface this seems kind of obvious, but up to now Reid has always reiterated that the Eagles aren’t looking to trade McNabb, Kolb, or Vick. By saying the team was happy with its quarterbacks and would rather go into 2010 with all three than accept less than a specific price, the Eagles obviously were trying to keep those price tags up.

Being able to walk away from the table is one of the most powerful bargaining chips in any negotiation. To my mind though, Andy’s admission today that they are considering trades is a red flag that the team really isn’t willing to walk away from discussions. The front office seems to have decided they need to trade McNabb, and probably Vick too. Otherwise, Andy probably never comes out and says these things for the first time.

Sometimes it’s hard to separate the fluff from the real nuggets of insight. Let’s put Andy’s words through a little CoachSpeak Translation:

“We think we have a great situation. That’s where we’re at. That doesn’t mean we’re not entertaining calls of anything. But right now, we feel very good about our quarterback situation. Very fortunate really.”

Translation: “We like these quarterbacks. Some more than others. It’s great to have them though because they might net us some draft picks pretty soon. And we’re not desperate. But the Chargers got the equivalent of a 2nd round pick for some guy I never heard of. Why won’t someone pony up a 1st for Donovan?”

“I wouldn’t say [the QBs] are on the market. I’d say I’m listening (to offers).”

Translation: “I’m not saying Donovan’s on the block. But I’m putting it out there that he’s going to the highest bidder.”

“We’ll go back and look through those [offers] and think through them a little bit, away from this situation here. There’s (no offer) right now that I’d jump up and down about. But there has been some interest.”

Translation: “Brad Childress prank-called me the other night about trading his #1 pick for Vick. Almost crapped my pants. Outside of that though, Mike Singletary was talking to me earlier. If the Niners want in they’re going to have to gimme some of that sweet 1st round action.”

“I’m keeping my ears open.”

Translation: “Call me, Buffalo.”

Alright, so Andy was a little more tactful in his responses. But overall I think what other teams are going to hear is closer to the translation. Stating publicly that the Eagles are listening to offers is as good as saying the players are on the block. Clearly the front office hasn’t gotten any offer they’re looking for, and have decided to broadcast their willingness to talk a little bit more.

Coinciding with that, there are now multiple reports out there that the Eagles have lowered the asking price for McNabb. Ashley Fox has “a league source with knowledge of the team’s thought process” who says Eagles now want “a second-round pick or combination of high picks.” A leauge source told Derek Gunn the Eagles have “reduced their price from a first-round pick and a third-round pick to just a third.”

I’m not sure how much the Eagles have actively lowered their price, since a lot depends on what high draft picks the interested parties have, what other players the Eagles might be interested in, etc. And it sounds like Andy actually got a few offers over the last couple days that they’ll look at when they get back to Philly.

Still, this is a huge move. The Eagles have committed to trade talks. It’s only a matter of time before another team offers something reasonable. I now fully expect McNabb to be gone by draft day.