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http://www.pennlive.com/eagles/times/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/101937966325850.xml

Teammates are seething about Trotter

Sunday, April 21, 2002

MARK ECKEL

There wasn't anything the Eagles could do in yesterday's NFL Draft to erase what had happened the day before.

No college player, especially the 26th best one, could erase the sting of Jeremiah Trotter becoming a Washington Redskin.

Trotter, the two-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker whom head coach and vice president Andy Reid and team president Joe Banner pushed out of town, got the money he wanted: Seven years, $35.5 million, and most importantly, $7 million guaranteed in a signing bonus.

The Eagles got a 5-foot-10 cornerback.

Trotter's departure has left Reid and Banner with more problems than just having to play Barry Gardner at middle linebacker.

This is not a happy Eagles team right now. It's not quite Team Turmoil, but it might be Team Unrest.

``I'm happy for Jeremiah, honestly,'' Eagles Pro Bowl cornerback Troy Vincent said after hearing the news of Trotter's signing. ``His wish was granted. Unfortunately, it wasn't by us.

``But I'm sure he's happy. He got everything he wanted, and he gets to play us twice. It's tough enough to lose a player like that, but for him to go to the enemy makes it even worse.

``We feel we have a good defense, a stout defense. (Washington) is building a great defense itself. It's going to be some game.''

Two other veterans, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed their feelings after getting word of Trotter's deal with Washington.

``That's just great, Washington,'' one veteran said in disgust. ``Now we get to play against him twice a year. I don't think (the Eagles) saw that coming. They thought he was going to Houston.''

Said another: ``I'm happy for Trot. I really am. But what are we doing? What's going on here? I want to trust Andy. But he's making it real hard right now.''

There are three Pro Bowl players left on the Eagles defense - Vincent, free safety Brian Dawkins and defensive end Hugh Douglas - and none of the three are happy.

Dawkins is the league's most underpaid player. He will earn less than $2 million this season, which is less than half of what the top safeties in the league make.

The Eagles sent Dawkins a contract proposal a couple of weeks ago. According to sources, it was laughable, borderline insulting.

Dawkins did not sign it, and is not happy with his situation.

Vincent, always the loyal soldier and team leader, is also searching for answers as well as a contract extension.

For Vincent, who will earn $3.1 million next season (low for a three-time Pro Bowl cornerback), it isn't about the money. He wants the extension to assure he will end his career here.

Linda and James Bodley, his Yardley, Pa.-based agents, have made repeated calls and proposals to Banner. So far, nothing is close to happening.

And then there is Douglas, who the Eagles cheated out of a chance to void the final year of his contract when he sat out the last game of the regular season one sack short of 10 1/2, which would have allowed him to become a free agent at the end of next season.

The Eagles say Douglas should be happy the contract didn't void, that the $5 million he is scheduled to earn in 2003 is more than generous.

That's not what he wanted to hear.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb, for whom the team supposedly is trying to put together a new deal, even though he is signed through 2005, also is upset.

McNabb, who also lost $1 million last year when he sat out the final game of the season, has watched closely this offseason the team lose three starters from the defense, and add none to his offense.

The quarterback cut short his workout/vacation in Phoenix to come back and help woo running back Warrick Dunn, the free agent from Tampa Bay.

When money became an issue, Dunn signed with Atlanta, and the Eagles' offense remained status quo.

McNabb also begged the Eagles to talk to Cleveland about a deal for his good friend, wide receiver Kevin Johnson, who caught 80 passes last year. They couldn't get that deal done, either.

Cris Carter? Didn't want him.

So the Eagles spent the 26th pick on Lito Sheppard, who will likely be their fourth cornerback this year.

It was nice to hear that the Eagles' new stadium will have escalators that will take the fans to the top.

You just have to wonder if they will have any players who will take them there.

-- -- --

Washington, with the addition of Trotter and everything else could be the favorite to win the NFC East.

The Redskins have become more talented than the Eagles.

Before you ask about the Redskins' quarterback situation, remember this: Tom Brady, Trent Dilfer and Kurt Warner are the last three quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl. Two of the three you never heard of before the season, and the other you did and thought he stunk.

Don't worry about Washington's offense. Steve Spurrier will find a way.

Worry about the Redskins defense, which is the best in the conference, and has the best coordinator in Marvin Lewis, who has won one Super Bowl.

The Eagles have lost three starters on defense, replaced them with two players - Blaine Bishop (broken foot) and Shawn Barber (torn ACL) - who would have a hard time in a three-legged race. They have done nothing to improve the offense.

-- -- --

Speaking of the NFC East, Dallas continues to get better.

The Cowboys, who added free agent defensive tackle LaRoi Glover and linebacker Kevin Hardy, made the best move of the first round.

Dallas, with the sixth overall pick, moved down two spots with Kansas City and got an extra third-round pick from the Chiefs.

The Cowboys also got the player they wanted, Oklahoma safety Roy Williams, who just might have the biggest impact of any rookie next season.

-- -- --

Dallas' trade came around the Minnesota Vikings' selection.

The reason Kansas City moved up was to get ahead of the Vikings and take North Carolina defensive tackle Ryan Sims.

It appeared the clock had run out on Dallas, and the Vikings had Sims' name on their card.

But the trade got done, and the Vikings instead opted for left tackle Bryant McKinnie of Miami.

-- -- --

Cincinnati - who else? - pulled the first surprise of the draft when the Bengals selected tackle Levi Jones with the No. 10 pick.

Jones, a pure left tackle, wasn't expected to go until somewhere in the low teens.

But in the Bengals' defense, left tackles are hard to find and Jones just might be a very good one.

-- -- --

Atlanta surprised everyone with the selection of Michigan State running back T.J. Duckett over a host of wide receivers.

Didn't the Falcons just give Warrick Dunn a six-year, $24 million deal with a $6 million signing bonus?

NOTE: Mark Eckel is a Times staff writer.

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Lurie is saving his dough waiting on luxury boxes to supplement him, but, he's going to lose this team if he doesn't start paying for the production he's seen from some of these guys. It's a race now against the clock for him to get Snyder-bucks in cash so he can start paying his players how they think is right. Surprising to read the amount of disquiet the Trotter signing brought.

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Well, we really didn't ignore the line too much here. The top four DTs were gone, so we moved out of No. 18. At No. 32, we could have gone guard, but, really, QB was a greater need overall, since guards tend to be so much easier to find. Bob Hallen, perhaps, come on down.

In the second round it "would" have been nice to get Weaver, but, other than Weaver, there really wasn't a very exciting prospect on the line with a No. 2. In the third round I do not understand why we didn't take Brown or Johnson, but, again, once we DID not get an assured starter on the defensive line, pretty much any other spot we could have drafted, except offensive guard was not going to start for us.

We should have looked more at these spots and made moves to assure ourselves some of this, but, we started the day with two picks, and we ended up with four and a QB for the future, perhaps. While I'm not going to jump for joy, I do understand it a little.

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If Vincents 3.1 mil is considered to be underpaid we might have problem resigning Champ if we dont do it ASAP.

Dawkins didnt accept the contract proposal does this means he'll be a free agent next year?

Right now you can look at the the Thrash,Kalu, B Mitch for Trotter as a great trade for us.

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