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Philadelphia Eagles News

President Joe Banner

On the structure of RB Brian Westbrook's contract extension: "It's a complicated deal with extension years and potential voided years and escalators and everything I've ever seen in any contract is in this deal. It will appear as a six-year deal. There are a lot of situations where it could end up as short as three. It could be four, it could be five, it could be six. There are a lot of different variables that could trigger that, but literally the contract will show as a six-year deal [that starts] in 2008."

On whether the deal eases some of the cap concerns he had: "We kind of figured out the numbers needed in the first three years, but then there were all these rules about how the cap was going to be treated and how many dollars we had in the first three years, how many years can you prorate, when are you allowed to void under those circumstances and not. You not only have all the other rules, now you have an uncapped year rule that kicks in part way through the contract. That was the challenge even once we knew we were working numbers, literally, until we finished this afternoon. We were still negotiating over a smaller amount of money than we started with, but we have kind of had the framework where we realized we were close enough we were going to get that part figured out probably over maybe the last 24 to 48 hours. But, we really didn't finalize the numbers here until the last few hours."

On how important it was to get the deal done before the game: "All of us wanted to get the deal done as quickly as we could. I really have to commend Brian, and his agent, Todd France. This was a very complicated deal. They hung in there. There was never one single moment, privately, where there was any threat of, 'I'm not playing in the game, I'm not coming to camp.' We all knew the realities of what his options were. They couldn't have been more positive and professional throughout the whole thing. All of us knew, 'Let's get this done as quickly as we can, and certainly let's get this done before we're going to ask him to go out and play a game.' Even with that, even this afternoon, they weren't saying, 'Hey let's hurry up or he's not playing tonight.' That was never the tone; it was a completely constructive, totally professional approach."

On why it was important to get this deal done for a player like Westbrook: "The last time we did a contract right before a game in the preseason, with the Hall of Fame game, when we did [FS] Brian Dawkins. We think of him as a Hall-of-Fame-caliber player. I feel like I'm standing up here again right before the first preseason game of the season. We're talking about a Hall-of-Fame-caliber player. This is a premier guy, leader, player. What he has done over the last few weeks here with this going on and still working - he came out there when he had strep throat and practiced. When he had an excuse, regardless of what was going on. He just wants to win so badly. He wants the team to be the best it can be. That's what drove him, it's what has always driven him. If you put the same things I said about Dawkins a few years ago; if you take somebody with that kind of talent and those kind of intangibles that they bring to your team in who they are in their heart, in their head, that is the guy you want to make sure is feeling good about things if you possibly can."

On what message this deal will send to other players in the locker room: "I think I've learned over the years that these contract situations tend to be very individual and that messages are lost in the shuffle most of the time. But, I do think that Brian is a player who is really highly respected in the locker room as a person and as a player. I think the team, knowing that he is taken care of, that he has peace of mind, that he can approach the season with the rest of the guys in that locker room with one focus. That can't be anything but a positive."

On when he realized the team had to get a deal done: "I'm not sure there was a 'had to.' It was a long time ago. Probably the first meeting we had after the season that we decided internally that it was something we had to try hard to get done. It was a matter of recognizing his achievements and the realities of the situation. We've said many times, and I know this isn't always believed, but we don't sit here with a bunch of hard and fast rules. We have guidelines, we have philosophies that we try to stay consistent with so that we are predictable to people and we don't want our players to think we're all over the place and everybody is different. On the other hand, we've always tried to address individual situations and assess what we thought that particular situation warranted. Sometimes that is consistent with what the players and the agent think and sometimes it's not. We've never tried to approach things with a rule that didn't allow us the flexibility to approach a situation like this and do what everybody agreed to do. So, it was probably in January that we internally had meetings in which we said, 'We have to sit down, we have to try to be reasonable and aggressive about this and we have to try to see if we can find a point where we can meet and get Brian's contract where we all think it should be."

On how long the contract will be if he plays at the same level he has been playing for the last couple of years: "There are a lot of iterations in that; it would probably end up being three or four years if he is playing at that level. It depends on the breakup of total yards and playing time. The first pick in the draft, which is so complicated and they probably have 30 or 40 page addendums to the contract. This was 52 pages of addendums, not even counting the pages in the contract. 52 pages of addendums to cover this contract. (Jokingly) We could wake up on March 1st and say, 'Woah what happened here?' But, not for at least three years."

On whether this was the most complicated contract he has ever done: "By far. I think this is the most complicated contract I've ever seen, not just that I've ever done. I read, at least, a synopsis of every contract done in the league and frequently try to look at the contract. This is the most complicated contract I've ever seen. It's the longest contract I've ever seen, also."

On how many total pages the contract is: "I think the base contract is like six or seven pages, so you're probably in the 60s."

On whether a deal like this will affect the public perception of the team: "No, we're never going to change that perception. I've been saying it for years that over the years we have re-signed more of players, both early and late, we sign players over 30, we are somewhere between second and fourth, depending on what years you want to use, in terms of cash payment for players in the league. Despite it all, the perception is still there. That's okay, it doesn't change anything. It's really about how many games we win and how many games we lose. The perceptions are more driven by that than anything. That's really the only thing that matters. I've long ago given up any hope of altering those perceptions."

On whether this deal has affected this year's cap number: "This deal is fairly cap-neutral to this particular year. I think it increased it a bit, but nothing that would change anything we were thinking or any flexibility we would want to have. It changes the cap numbers, obviously, over the next three or four or five years. It was a little bit of an increase, but not enough of this year that would really have any impact on any other things we would want to use that money for."

On whether there is one year that is significantly affected by the deal: "It is moderately more next year than it would have been. It is significantly more in year three. This is just a function of how things got prorated, it's not a function of the cash flow to him. But with things getting prorated, there is a fairly steep incline in the cap over the next couple of years."

On the structure of the deal: "My attitude is that this is like you're not asking any of us how much we make. It's a little more public. If the players like to say it when the union releases it, I'm fine with it. We respect the privacy of the players on the contract numbers."

On G Shawn Andrews: "I'm a day behind. I have been since most of last night and all of today doing this. As of last night, there was, as far as I know, no definitive answer on what the next step was. I suspect that [head coach] Andy [Reid], [general manager] Tom [Heckert], and others have had some updated information. As of the last I know, we are kind of where you are on where we were with him going to the doctor and us waiting for word of the results of that. I'm sure there is more recent information but I've been kind of consumed with finishing this and working with their lawyers and our lawyers and everybody to review every word of the language and finish that up."

On whether there is any plan of where to go from here with Andrews: "There is a gameplan when he gets here, in terms of what is going to happen, purely from a medical perspective. Beyond that, I'm sure Andy has either created or will create a plan, in terms of the football part of it. I have not."

On whether this contract has already been approved by the NFLPA: "The Union has read it and I believe, of course I'm getting this second-hand, is fine with it. Management council has reviewed it kind of quickly and has kind of given us a preliminary, 'It looks fine,' but they have to read it a lot more carefully once it actually gets submitted with signatures."

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