On McNabb contract timing, Redskins management suffers a big loss, too
Donovan McNabb's agent, Fletcher N. Smith III, was certainly pleased about his client's reported five-year, $78 million contract extension with the Redskins. Finalized Sunday night and announced Monday afternoon, the agreement was timed perfectly, the agent for the former Philadelphia Eagle told the Post. "The fact that we could get this done tonight, with the Redskins playing the Eagles on Monday night and everything that goes with that - I couldn't have written a better script."
Actually, he could have--or at least the Redskins officials could have. Because this chapter of the McNabb narrative did not have a happy ending. In an embarrassing beat down, the Redskins fell to the Eagles 59-28 in last night's game, a stinging blowout in which McNabb threw three interceptions and completed only 17 of 31 passes.
The timing of the two events could be nothing more than unlucky coincidence. And indeed, there were surely many reasons the extension came together now, rather than earlier or later in the season. But the optics of a multi-million dollar contract extension for a star player coming the same exact day he led his team to one of the worst losses in its history is more than just painful irony. It's poor planning on the part of Redskins leaders too.
McNabb and Redskins officials have been trying to come to an agreement for eight months now. The team's off week was the date set as a target for an agreement, Coach Mike Shanahan has said, and they met it. Shanahan's controversial benching of the veteran quarterback at a critical moment during the Redskins' loss against Detroit may have also helped bring the two sides together. "The Redskins definitely seemed motivated to show that they were behind Donovan despite what happened," McNabb's agent told the Post's Rick Maese and Jason Reid.
Surely, then, the Redskins management didn't plan on throwing millions at their star talent on the very day his worth to the Redskins team might be most seriously called into question. But they could have planned the announcement so that it didn't happen on the exact same day as a big game with a top team where such headline-grabbing comparisons would inevitably be made. The Eagles were 5-and-3 heading into yesterday's game, and the big Monday Night Football matchup was sure to set up contrasts between McNabb and his former teammate and back-from-near-career-death quarterback Michael Vick, who had a record-setting game that prompted some observers to call him the best in the league.
Perhaps McNabb or his agent wanted that perfect "script"--announcing McNabb's extension on the same day he played his former team--so badly that negotiations demanded yesterday's timing. Who knows. But if Redskins officials did have a real say in the announcement date, the choice resulted in spectacularly embarrassing headlines (ESPN on Vick: "Show Him the Money").
Redskins officials could have waited to spread the good news after a big win. Or at the very least, picked a day that wasn't game day. Leaders can pretend otherwise, but optics matter. Maybe almost as much as offense.
November 16, 2010; 9:15 AM ET |
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