INDIANAPOLIS -- In a move that almost certainly will preclude the return of quarterback Jeff Garcia to Philadelphia in 2007, and figures to send the eight-year veteran scrambling to find a new team in free agency, the Eagles on Sunday reached agreement with A.J. Feeley on a three-year contract extension.
Financial details of the extension were not yet available.
"I love Philadelphia. I love the city. I love the
organization," Feeley said. "It's where I want to be. It was a
no-brainer for me in that regard. There's something to be said for
being with a team you love everything about it."
There were rumblings the past few days that Philadelphia officials, apparently convinced they could not strike a deal with Garcia before the start of the free agency period on March 2, had turned their attentions to Feeley, a six-year veteran.
Steve Baker, the agent for Garcia, said here Sunday afternoon that the Eagles preferred to have a deal in place with his client before free agency started. Apparently, Garcia asked for a five-day grace period at the outset of unrestricted free agency, one that would permit him to test the market and gauge his value, before determining whether to re-sign with the Eagles.
"Once we would not agree with their ultimatum," Baker said, "they apparently moved on to [Feeley] to get a deal there. But Jeff will be fine."
While the move is somewhat surprising, given that Garcia posted a 5-1 record and led the Eagles to a playoff berth after replacing the injured Donovan McNabb, it is not altogether shocking. At age 29, Feeley is nearly eight full years younger than Garcia, and the staff in Philadelphia, including head coach Andy Reid, holds him in high regard.
"I was surprised I wasn't offered a contract. There was never
anything to negotiate over," Garcia said Monday in an interview
with Comcast SportsNet. "We never know what it would've amounted
to. It wasn't about the money. It was about being in a great
Under the right circumstances, Philadelphia probably would have welcomed Garcia back for another season, but only on its conditions and on its timetable. His reluctance solidified the desires of some within the organization to pursue Feeley instead, and to essentially make him the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart.
Feeley began his career with the Eagles in 2001 but, after three seasons, was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2004. He subsequently played in San Diego, and then returned to the Eagles last year after the Chargers released him. In two games in 2006, he completed 26 of 38 passes for 342 yards, with three touchdown passes and no interceptions.
For his career, Feeley has completed 313 of 562 passes for 3,389 yards, with 22 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions.
A three-time Pro Bowl performer, but a quarterback nomad since 2003, Garcia now will be on the move again. He faces the prospect now of playing for a fourth different franchise in four seasons and, while Garcia has value and will attract attention in free agency, the future is somewhat clouded.
"We just wanted to have a reasonable opportunity to be
respected, to be appreciated for what took place last year,"
Garcia said in the interview. "Are there other reasons why I wasn't offered a
contract? We'll never know."
At least two teams perceived as having a need for a veteran quarterback, Minnesota and Chicago, said in recent weeks they are not interested in adding Garcia. Baker said Sunday he is "very confident" he will have a competitive market for his client.
In 99 games, including 92 starts, Garcia has completed 1,811 of 2,972 passes for 20,385 yards, with 136 touchdown passes and 73 interceptions, for an efficiency rating of 86.4. He has thrown for more than 2,500 yards five times in his career.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.