Are the Philadelphia Eagles trading Donovan McNabb? And is he headed to the Buffalo Bills?
That was the rumor circulating around the Ritz-Carlton Resort Hotel, where the NFL owners meeting concluded Wednesday.
As it turned out, the McNabb-to-Buffalo talk was just that -- talk. At least for now.
Eagles coach Andy Reid admitted Wednesday morning that the team has fielded calls about McNabb. Reid declined to mention who the teams were, but he's intrigued by the inquiries.
"We'll go back and look through those and think through them a little bit, away from this situation here," he said during the NFC coaches breakfast. "There's [no offer] right now that I'd jump up and down about. But there has been some interest.
"I'm listening to things out there. I'm not saying I'm doing anything, but my ears are open, which we do on every player. So this is no different."
What is different is that Reid has been unwavering in his support of McNabb, the face of the Eagles franchise since he was drafted in the first round out of Syracuse in 1999, even after a down year. The fact that McNabb's biggest advocate in the organization would be listening to trade offers is interesting.
Are the Bills making a bid for McNabb? He's a six-time Pro Bowler who has guided the Eagles to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl appearance so it would make sense given their quarterback situation. Bills coach Chan Gailey said he's still mulling over how to deal with the position, but added he won't turn his back on anything that could improve the team.
"It depends on who it is, obviously," he said. "You look at those things and each guy brings a different quality and a different dynamic to a football team. Would they have an impact? You shouldn't do the deal if they're not going to have an impact. Now how big depends on who it is, what he brings, what you can do with him."
At 33 years old, McNabb has a few productive years left in him. The question is how much. Gailey said he's not looking for a short-term solution at quarterback.
McNabb isn't the only Eagles quarterback being talked about in NFL circles. Reid said he also has gotten calls on backups Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick. All are heading into the final year of their contracts, so the Eagles might consider moving one of them rather than let someone walk away without getting any compensation.
A lot of coaches were caught off guard by the owners voting in favor of the modified sudden death proposal on Tuesday. The rule change, which applies only to the playoffs, gives both teams a chance to possess the ball in overtime if the team that wins the coin toss makes a field goal on its first series.
The coaches thought a vote wouldn't happen until Wednesday, yet Commissioner Roger Goodell called an executive session and had the owners decide on the measure. It just so happens many of the coaches were on the golf course at that time, unaware that a vote was taking place or that 28 of the 32 owners gave the rule a thumbs-up.
Such maneuvering raised the ire of coaches, including Sean Payton of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.
"One of the best things that we do is discuss, debate, give thought to a rule such as this, which is significant," he said Wednesday. "I think what was most disappointing is the process had begun, then all of a sudden there was a quick [vote]. That kind of got slipped in the back door.
"There's a taste you have in your mouth and that taste is bitter. I'm against it. Honestly, I hate the policy."
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan added that the rule wouldn't have passed if the coaches were in the room.
"Not many things do. Coaches don't like change," he said. "If it was up to us, we'd still be watching 16 millimeter film. It was Roger just saying, 'This is what I want. Owners, you get together. Let's go get it done.' And they got it done."
Goodell was dismissive of the coaches' complaints, saying, in essence, their opinion didn't matter.
"This may not come as a news flash, but the owners have the vote," Goodell said during his wrap-up news conference. "And of course, it's probably no secret that there are certain owners who may have a different view than their coaches. They felt that this was important to them and they felt it was important to the game and to the fans."
Former Bills head coach Dick Jauron and special teams coordinator Bobby April found a soft landing spot in Philadelphia. Jauron will coach the Eagles' secondary.
Reid and Jauron go back to their days on Mike Holmgren's staff in Green Bay.
"I respect him like I think most people respect him," Reid said. "You don't hear too many bad things about Dick Jauron. He brings a lot of knowledge to the table and an understanding of the defensive back position. He played it, he coached it. So I kind of welcome that in the mix with our DBs."
Given April's success with the Bills, Reid viewed him like a hot-shot free agent player who the Eagles had to have.
"I've always looked at Bobby as one of the top special teams coaches in the National Football League," Reid said. "We had that with John Harbaugh. I feel like we have that again with Bobby."