When I was at an event for the 2010 NFL Draft, I bumped into Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. He got angry with me. There was some pushing and shoving until finally I lost my cool and started using my level three Kung Fu skills on the 6'4, 264 pound back. After a few minutes of me painting his face all over the crowd, security pried me off Jacobs and escorted me to the door.
OK, everything in that above paragraph was a lie, save me bumping into Brandon Jacobs. That I did do. Instead of engaging me in mortal combat, Brandon was kind enough to chat about the NFC East. We chewed the fat about the upcoming season, the draft, and the Giants overall. Pleasant guy. Easy to talk to. I asked him about Donovan McNabb getting traded from the Eagles to the Redskins.
Jacobs' mood changed quickly after that question.
He shook his head in disgust and talked to me about how completely disrespectful it was of the Eagles to trade McNabb within the division. From the conversation, I got the strong sense that most NFC players very much respect McNabb, and there is a feeling that Eagles management acted like @ssholes in their treatment of him this off-season.
I mention all this because McNabb, like many other NFL players, is looking for a new, fat paycheck before all this "lock-out" stuff starts messing up the works. The problem is McNabb can't get that paycheck, and the reasons are named Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
As respected as someone like McNabb is among his peers, Manning and Brady dominate the upper echelon of quarterbacks in the NFL. Some say Drew Brees is up there now, but I disagree. Last year was a great season for Brees and the Saints, but he's never won a league MVP and he's only taken the Saints to the playoffs twice in his four year career with them. Manning and Brady have quarterbacked their teams to the playoffs every season since 2003, and have played in five Super Bowls, winning three.*
Like McNabb, Big P and Tommy Terrific are in the final year of their contracts. The teams they play for are waiting for the other to make a move on contract negotiations. The Patriots are secretly hoping the Colts sign Manning to the mega-deal everyone expects first so that they gave give Tom a slightly less deal. But, until both players have those deals, it is impossible for Donovan McNabb's new team, the Redskins, to give him the extension he very much wants. Like Manning and Brady, McNabb is now in his 30s, and this extension will likely be the last big payday of his career.
The Mega Manning Money Deal is a sub-plot of the 2010 season that we plan to follow closely. This deal will likely be the biggest contract in sports history, and it will send shock-waves through not just the NFL, but sports globally.
*I'm discounting 2008 (a season where the Pats missed the playoffs) because Brady went down in Week One with a knee injury. No reason to hold that season against Tommy.