He's doing it again...Andy Reid's high-stakes poker game comes this time every year. It's the annual Free Agency tournament, and Reid's giving us nothing but card tricks and bluffs.
His latest poker-face move was orchestrated in a short interview he gave in Atlantic City yesterday...it was brilliant. Reid addressed the rumors swirling in Philly that he is at odds with others in the Eagles front office, notably Joe Banner (president) and Howie Roseman (GM), over the possible trade of Donovan McNabb. Reid simply said, "McNabb is my starting quarterback...end of discussion."
What a great poker play! In one fell swoop, Reid took back control of the Eagles front office, just in case there was any doubt about who really runs the team...and at the same time, he maintained the trade value of McNabb, just in case he does decide to do a blockbuster deal down the road.
Who knows, Banner and Roseman may have intentionally put out the rumors that they would entertain a trade offer for McNabb, just to test the waters of free agency and measure the interest in McNabb.
If so, Reid is playing along beautifully.
Personally, I think McNabb stays as QB#1 for one last dance with Reid in 2010. Kevin Kolb will remain as backup. Michael Vick will be traded to either Carolina or Buffalo later this Spring.
What is more intriguing to me is Reid's ability to add mystery to the QB equation for the purpose of pumping up the value of all three quarterbacks. That's Andy Reid: always looking to the next hand or the future value of a bluff.
He was fairly direct in the recent signing of FB Leonard Weaver to a 3-year deal for $11 million. Reid said it was a priority to get the deal done for Weaver...and he wasn't bluffing.
Reid put on the poker face for the Eagles' courtship of DE Julius Peppers, who eventually signed a 6-year deal with the Bears. Although acting like losing out on the hand played for Peppers was no big deal, I sense Reid really wanted that prize. His only public comment was, "It's okay, our D-line is pretty good, anyway..."
Yeah, right! Nice bluff, Andy...we still remember how the D-line was shredded by Dallas.
But it's okay. You still get to play the next hand with all the money that did not wind up getting spent on Peppers. I didn't really think Peppers would be a great fit in Philly anyway... oh wait, I just proved my own lack of talent at bluffing...
Andy didn't have a whole lot to say about releasing LB Will Witherspoon, either. With 'Spoon due to make $5 million in each of the next two seasons, and with some questions about his ability to learn to play in the Philly system, it would not surprise me if Reid later renegotiates a new contract with Witherspoon based on lower guarantees and higher incentives.
After all, what is a head coach in the NFL but a professional poker player? He's given a load of chips and a set of cards to play. And even if Andy Reid goes down, he'll be bluffing right up to the end.