Even though it would mean becoming a backup again, Jeff Garcia
's 2007 preference is to re-sign with the Eagles.
The 37-year-old quarterback, who replaced injured Donovan McNabb 10 games into the season and sparked a resurrection that saw the Eagles win a division title and make it to the second round of the playoffs, can become a free agent in March.
Despite his age, his impressive play in eight starts likely will draw some interest from other teams. But Garcia would like to remain in Philadelphia, even though it would be as McNabb's backup again.
"As great as things have been, I really hope something can be worked out," Garcia said. "I don't want to see myself having to adapt and adjust a whole new environment all over again. I'm done with those types of things."
Eagles president Joe Banner and head coach Andy Reid have said they want Garcia back. But if a team is willing to give him a starting opportunity and pay him starter's money, it would be difficult for the Eagles to compete with that.
"We want him and he wants to be here," Banner said. "I think the only thing that could get in the way is if some unique opportunity presents itself to him that he feels is too good to pass up. And I don't think either of us has any idea whether that's out there right now."
Notes From The 'Nest:
The Eagles have 11 players who can become unrestricted free agents in March. Just one of them - wide receiver Donte Stallworth - is a starter, but there are several key backups whose contracts are up, including quarterback Jeff Garcia, nickel cornerback Rod Hood, backup running back Correll Buckhalter, nickel linebacker Shawn Barber and former starting strong safety Mike Lewis. Stallworth, who averaged 19.1 yards per catch this season and had a 75-yard touchdown reception in the 27-24 playoff loss to the Saints, likely will be coveted by a number of other teams. "If things work out money-wise, we'd love to have (him back)," general manager Tom Heckert said. "If we can get something done with him, we want to."
After Jeff Garcia replaced Donovan McNabb, pass-happy coach Andy Reid went to a more balanced offensive attack and relied more heavily on his talented running back, Brian Westbrook. In their first 11 games this season, the Eagles threw the ball 366 times and ran it just 253. In their last seven, they threw it 203 times and ran it 197. But Reid was reluctant to commit to that kind of balance next season when he gets McNabb back.
"(Westbrook) is as fine a football player as there is in the National Football League," Reid said. "He catches the ball well and he runs the ball well and he's very valuable to this team. I have a lot of trust in him doing either one."
QB Donovan McNabb, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in late November, will not participate in any of the team's off-season minicamps, but should be ready to go by the start of training camp in late July.
LB Shawn Barber sprained his ankle on the final play of the first half against the Saints and missed the entire second half. The 32-year-old Barber will be a free agent and he's hoping that's not the way his Eagles career will end and wants to re-sign with the Eagles. He was their middle linebacker in their nickel and dime packages this season.
CB Rod Hood almost certainly won't be back. Hood, the team's nickel corner, will be a free agent and wants the opportunity to start somewhere. He is expected to get it, but not with the Eagles.
You have to believe that somebody is going to offer Jeff Garcia a job as a starting quarterback and the money that comes with it. Even with that possibility, Garcia insists that all things considered, he'd rather be in Philadelphia.
The Eagles QB insists that he wants to stay in Philadelphia.