Tracing The McNabb Rumors

Tracing The McNabb Rumors

In case you're only crawling out of your bomb shelters now, Donovan McNabb is still a Philadelphia Eagle. Celebrate or curse at your own discretion.

It seems what started as an unsubstantiated rumor and became a sensational breaking report within a few hours was completely false—at least that's what the St. Louis Rams would have you think. Nothing is imminent though, and depending on who you believe, there hasn't even been a conversation. It's amazing everybody could wander so far off the trail...

Unless I told you the entire rumor began at Bleacher Report.

When 97.5's Mike Missanelli received an anonymous tip yesterday on his show that a trade would be announced within hours, we immediately jumped into action. Unless it was a contact with ties to the Eagles front office, there wasn't any reason we couldn't track down the same information.

So that's exactly what we did. With the assistance of Twitter, we were able to trace the initial rumor all the way back to its internet source. The most recent discussion sprung from a Bleacher Report article asking whether the Rams would pursue McNabb, which began:

Rumors are swirling that the Philadelphia Eagles are in talks to trade Donovan McNabb. Among the likely candidates for the trade is St. Louis, owner of the first pick in the upcoming draft.

If the Rams did trade for McNabb, what might be the compensation? More than likely, it would involve the Rams' second-round pick along with a player (maybe Adam Carriker?). It is highly doubtful that such a trade would involve their first-round pick.

The timing of the story just happened to coincide with Andy Reid's concession that yes, the Eagles are entertaining offers for their quarterbacks, and Donovan McNabb announcing he understands the situation and simply hopes it's resolved quickly. Somebody at WFAN in New York apparently connected the dots, and the speculation was officially under way.

Up to that point, that's all it was. It didn't matter that nobody credible was reporting it though, or that Rams sideline reporter and ESPN radio personality Brian Stull was refuting it very early on. The news grew legs quickly, and there was no stopping it by the time the Inquirer's Jeff McLane got a hold of it. His sources initially verified something was in the works, but apparently have since backed off.

The popular consensus is we were all taken for a ride. The Eagles were obviously interested in generating trade talk, otherwise they would not have changed their stance in such a public manner. By quietly confirming a few highly speculative reports, they were able to create a sense of urgency, for however brief a period, where one did not previously exist. Whether it was of any benefit to them or not, who knows.

Some people are still suggesting there was smoke, so there must be fire, and they might be right too. Despite the strong denials coming out of St. Louis, it's plausible they were close to a deal, but Donovan's contract demands were the final sticking point and caused everything to fall apart. His value plummets as soon as reaching an extension becomes a problem, an often overlooked piece of the puzzle.

And maybe talks aren't finished at all. The most surprising part of this entire thing was the speed at which the Eagles went from finally acknowledging they need to make a trade, to a deal could happen any minute. That's a lot of business for one day—reaching an agreement on a compensation package involving picks and players for a franchise QB, then negotiating an extension. You might even call that timeline unrealistic.

There's no telling what is true at the moment. Could the fact that Bleacher Report and talk radio mentioned it first be a coincidence, or was the chatter used as a diabolical means by the Eagles to promote their own agenda? Better yet, are quality reporters like McLane actually on to something that all the denials in the world couldn't cover up: McNabb is close to becoming a member of the St. Louis Rams?

Either way, things are finally getting interesting.

Wayne Simmonds stars as Flyers top Predators, push win streak to 5 games

Wayne Simmonds stars as Flyers top Predators, push win streak to 5 games

BOX SCORE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dave Hakstol likes Wayne Simmonds’ net-front play more than that of any player in the league.

The Flyers' power forward showed on Sunday why his coach thinks that way.

Simmonds’ two power-play goals in front of the crease helped extend the Flyers’ win streak to five, their longest of the season, in a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night (see Instant Replay).

“If there’s a better guy in the league at net front, whether it’s on power play or 5 on 5, I don’t know who that is,” said Hakstol said after Sunday's victory. “He did a great job there tonight.”

Simmonds’ first goal came when he deflected Jake Voracek’s shot past Juuse Saros, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 18:12 of the first period.

“They had great movement around the top of the box and Jake told me to go back door if he was going to get it for a one-timer,” Simmonds said. “So I stuck my stick out back door and he hit it, and it went in the net.”

Then Simmonds batted a puck through Saros' legs for a 2-1 advantage at 6:47 of the second period for his team-leading 13th goal of the season.

“It was kind of a little bit of a cluster and the puck comes to me, and I’m alone in front of the net so I just put it five-hole and it worked,” Simmonds said.

The right wing’s father was watching in the sellout crowd of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena during the Flyers' annual father-son trip.

“It was nice, obviously,” Simmonds said. “I just went outside and saw him. He didn’t really say much to me, but I know he’s glowing on the inside.”

Simmonds has now scored 10 career goals in 20 games against Nashville.

“What I really like about Simmer is he’s at net-front, he’s scoring goals, he’s on the power play, but he’s a great, hard-nosed, 200-foot player,” Hakstol said.

Simmonds’ goals gave the Flyers an early spark on Sunday.

“It was huge,” said Flyers left wing Michael Raffl, who scored the winning goal at 16:37 of the second period when made a power move on a rush and tucked the puck past Saros. “That gives us all the momentum.”

The Flyers improved to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.

“We’re just trying to take care of pucks and maintain the pressure that we have,” Simmonds said. “The next shift up every game is the most important shift and that’s how we’re trying to play it here.”

Predators coach Peter Laviolette, a former Flyers coach, wasn’t surprised by his former team’s power-play success. The Flyers entered the game tied for the third best power play in the league cashed in twice on seven chances on Sunday.

“We knew going in that their power play was really good,” Laviolette said. “Their players have a lot of time together and cohesiveness and they’re pretty set in what they do. They bring pucks to the net and when they do that, things can happen. That was a difference in the game tonight.”

Winning goalie Steve Mason has started 10 of the last 11 games. He made 30 saves Sunday to improve his record to 8-8-3.

“This is the situation I want to be in, so it’s a workload that all summer you prepare for even when I was not getting the work load I wanted,” Mason said. “You prepare for it and now that it’s here I’m making the most of it.”

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

WASHINGTON – It looks as if the Phillies will have some action at the winter meetings.

The team is close to signing veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit, sources tell CSNPhilly.com. The winter meetings officially begin on Monday. The signing is expected to be announced before the meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, is a veteran of 15 seasons in the majors. He is coming off a strong 2016 season in which he pitched in 51 games for Seattle and Toronto and recorded a 2.81 ERA.

Benoit, a right-hander, has pitched for six teams in his career and has a lifetime ERA of 3.79 in 712 games.

Entering the offseason, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said he wanted to improve the bullpen. He opened the offseason by trading for veteran right-hander Pat Neshek and last week claimed lefty David Rollins off waivers from Texas. Now, Klentak is poised to add Benoit.

Benoit has pitched mostly in a setup role in his career, but he does have closer experience. It is unclear what role he’d pitch in for the Phillies. The Phils have Jeanmar Gomez and Hector Neris returning to the back of their bullpen in 2017. Benoit could complement that pair or the Phillies could chose to trade Gomez or Neris. Neris pitched in 79 games in 2016 and had a 2.58 ERA, so the Phillies would only deal him if they were to get a strong package of talent in return.