Sources: Bills, Raiders inquired about McNabb

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid said Wednesday the team is entertaining offers for Donovan McNabb(notes), and multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders have inquired about the quarterback’s availability.

McNabb has helped the Eagles earn eight playoff appearances and five NFC title game berths in his tenure.
(Nick Laham/Getty Images)

However, one source with knowledge of McNabb’s interests said the 11-year veteran would favor a trade to a team with a contending roster, such as the Arizona Cardinals – a franchise that isn’t currently in the mix for his services. The source said McNabb likely wouldn’t sign a long-term deal in either Buffalo or Oakland, which could create a sticking point in any trade talks, as both franchises would expect a new deal in place before acquiring him. McNabb is due a $6.2 million roster bonus in May and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2011.

Both Buffalo and Oakland are prohibited about talking about players on other teams. However, Buffalo coach Chan Gailey did say on Tuesday that he hadn’t ruled out adding an established, star-quality quarterback, similar to the move the Minnesota Vikings made last season with Brett Favre(notes).

“I don’t know, maybe,” Gailey said. “That hasn’t come up, but could we? Yeah. … We’re not looking at anything right now that is set in concrete. Because when you don’t have a proven starter, you’re open to every scenario.”

Meanwhile, the Raiders’ current starting plan at quarterback entails former starter JaMarcus Russell(notes) battling journeyman Bruce Gradkowski(notes) and Charlie Frye(notes) to retain his job.

Though Reid didn’t elaborate on which franchises had contacted the Eagles, he said that all three of the team’s quarterbacks – McNabb, Kevin Kolb(notes) and Michael Vick(notes) – had drawn trade interest

“We’ll go back and look through those [talks] and think through them a little bit once we’re away from this situation here,” Reid said. “[There is] nothing that, right now, that I can 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. I’m just keeping my ears open, which we do on every player. This is no different.”

Pressed on whether he could guarantee McNabb wouldn’t be traded, Reid was evasive.

“I can tell you Donovan is our starter,” he said. “I can’t make it any clearer than that. We can get into semantics. Donovan is our starting quarterback.”

With teams firming up their scouting reports and the Eagles needing to seize on quarterback-needy teams before franchises have a chance to add one in the draft, several executives said they believe Philadelphia will act in the next several days if it chooses to deal McNabb. Another source with knowledge of McNabb’s situation said he believes a deal is coming “sooner than later” and said he believed the window extended “less than seven days.”

Whether that comes to fruition could depend on several factors. First is Philadelphia’s asking price, which is believed to be a package that would include at least a second-round draft pick. Second is McNabb’s willingness to extend his contract with the club that acquires him – a detail that gives McNabb some power in the process. And third is the Eagles’ ability to reach an agreement on a new deal with Kolb, whom is favored within the organization but has a deal expiring after 2010.

Despite those considerable hurdles, other factors appear to be pressing a deal into motion now. McNabb’s age (33) has put him in Philadelphia’s crosshairs, along with the organization’s intent on developing Kolb as its future starter. Combined with the contracts of both players expiring beyond 2010, and the team’s exercising the option of Michael Vick (who also is slated to earn $5.25 million in 2010), all signs point to the Eagles making a move now. And with the handful of quarterback-needy teams still seeking options, there may never be a better environment for Philadelphia to make a move with McNabb.

As one league general manager put it, “I can’t see any way they go to the draft with all three of their current [quarterbacks]. It doesn’t make much sense, just from the development end. What they’re doing with [Vick] sets them up to move out either Donovan or Kevin Kolb. And if they believe Kolb is their guy – and I think they really do believe in him – then there is your answer.”

Charles Robinson is the senior investigative reporter for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Charles a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010