Eagles give McNabb considerable raise
McNabb got a big raise. Now he wants to deliver that elusive championship.
"With the type of team that we have, I think it's important that we focus in on what we have to do in order to achieve that common goal, and that's obviously to win a Super Bowl," McNabb said Friday.
McNabb and the Eagles agreed late Thursday to restructure the final two years of his contract instead of extending his current deal.
The five-time Pro Bowler was due to make $9.2 million this season and $10 million next season. ESPN's Michael Smith reported the two-year deal is worth $24.5 million, with another $1 million in incentives.
"Both sides wanted to get something done," coach Andy Reid said. "We thought it needed to be done. Donovan warranted this. There are very few players or situations where a player is far enough along in his career, and then his contract, where he warrants something like this. We felt Donovan was in that situation."
McNabb made it clear last season he wanted a new deal. The two sides agreed on a pay raise instead of an extension mainly because of the uncertainty surrounding the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, which expires after the 2010 season.
"What goes on in the NFL over the next couple of years here, that's an unknown right now," Reid said. "Rather than to do [an extension], let's take care of it right now with the years remaining on his contract. We'll worry about the future as we come up here."
The message is simple: The time to win is now.
McNabb is up for the challenge. With third-year pro Kevin Kolb waiting in the background, the 32-year-old McNabb may not be on the verge of retirement, but he knows the window of opportunity doesn't stay open forever in the NFL.
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"I looked at it in the sense that it's in these two years, our focus is to win the Super Bowl and anything past that, it will take care of itself," McNabb said. "At this particular point, in these two years, we feel like we can get the job done."
The Eagles have come close several times in McNabb's 10 seasons in Philadelphia. He's led the Eagles to the NFC championship game five times, including last season. They've advanced to the Super Bowl once with McNabb at quarterback, losing to New England in 2005.
McNabb has an improved supporting cast to work with this year. It could be Philadelphia's best all-around offense since Terrell Owens played here. The Eagles, who scored a franchise-record 416 points last year, added three weapons in the draft: wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Cornelius Ingram. They also acquired two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters and signed versatile offensive lineman Stacy Andrews.
"It's hard to really assess that at this particular point," McNabb said when asked about the new-look offense. "Everybody looks good in shorts. It's going to take time."
Seven months ago, it was difficult to imagine McNabb and Reid would be sitting together talking about a new contract. McNabb's future with the team seemed in doubt after he was benched for the first time in his career during halftime of a 10-7 game at Baltimore on Nov. 23. With McNabb watching from the sideline, the Eagles completely unraveled and were routed 36-7.
But McNabb returned for the next game against Arizona and was outstanding down the stretch. He helped the Eagles overcome daunting odds to make the playoffs, and took them to the NFC title game against the Cardinals after two road victories against Minnesota and the New York Giants.
The Eagles fell short in Arizona, losing 32-25. Though he was sensational in leading the team back from an 18-point halftime deficit, McNabb took heat for the loss because of a poor first half.
He's put that game behind him and is eager to finish the job.
"I'm comfortable at this point because of the team that we have and the confidence level in which we're continuing to have at this particular point," McNabb said. "Going into training camp, guys are excited about what we can do."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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