PHILADELPHIA -- Tired of answering questions about his future with the Philadelphia Eagles, Donovan McNabb would rather get a new contract than play for a new team.
"Everybody wants a new deal," McNabb said Wednesday. "But, that's not why we're playing this game. We're playing this game to win and things happen. I've been answering this question the last couple of years, so I guess to eliminate that part of it, hopefully (a new contract) will happen, but we'll see."
The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback could be playing his final game with the Eagles (8-6-1) when they host the Dallas Cowboys (9-6) on Sunday. It almost seemed certain this would be McNabb's last season in Philadelphia when he got benched for the first time in his 10-year career on Nov. 23.
But McNabb rebounded strongly from the benching and led the Eagles to three straight wins that put them back in the NFC playoff mix. A devastating loss to Washington last week all but eliminated Philly from contention for a wild-card spot. The Eagles have to beat Dallas and need losses by Tampa Bay and Chicago or Minnesota to get in.
No matter, McNabb's future is uncertain. Kevin Kolb, drafted in the second round in 2007 to be McNabb's eventual successor, hasn't done much in limited playing time to prove he's capable of being a top-notch QB. McNabb isn't due to become a free agent anytime soon, so the Eagles would have to trade or release him.
If management decides to rebuild after missing the playoffs for the third time in four years, the 32-year-old McNabb could go. If the decision-makers feel the team only needs to retool its roster to make a Super Bowl run, McNabb probably stays because he's their best option.
"I'm still under contract. I guess it would be solidified by, so I don't have to answer this question, getting a new deal," McNabb said. "I don't truly focus on that. I expect to be here and I will play this game like it's not my last. You just go out and try to put everything on the field and give all your guys that confidence knowing that you're going to sell-out for them."
In 2002, McNabb signed a $115 million, 12-year contract extension that originally took him through the 2013 season. But the last three years of that contract were voided when he reached incentive clauses. The proration on the $20.5 million signing bonus he received runs through 2009. That means only $1.1 million of McNabb's $10.3 million salary-cap number for '09 would count against the Eagles if they traded him.
This has been a season filled with highs and lows for McNabb. He needs 135 yards passing to break his own single-season team-record of 3,875 yards set in 2004 when Terrell Owens was his primary target and the Eagles reached the Super Bowl. But McNabb only played one series the final two games that year because Philadelphia already had secured the NFC's No. 1 seed.
Still, that shouldn't diminish what he's accomplished this season with a receiving corps that lacks anyone close to T.O.'s level. McNabb's completion percentage (60.5) is his third-best and his passer rating (85.3) is his fifth-highest. He has 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Perhaps most impressive considering his recent past is that he hasn't missed a start due to injury for the first time since '04.
"I think I've played great," McNabb said. "I don't look at the stats aspect of it, but if you do, it is better than it has been in years. Offensively, we've been able to do some good things and some things that, obviously, we would love to change. I don't regret any of the things I've done this year and look to do better in this game coming up."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press