Losing White could gain Eagles two first-rounders

March 23, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- The real winner of the Reggie White Derby may be the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles will get the 13th pick in this year's draft and may get another first-round choice next year as special compensation for White, commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced yesterday.

Tagliabue said next year's pick for White will be "higher than a third round choice" and possibly a first. He said discussions are still continuing on that pick.

The Eagles get the picks only if they don't re-sign White and they've made it obvious they don't expect to retain him. If he's not signed by another team by the draft on April 25, they will have to renounce his rights to get this year's pick.

The Eagles are getting special compensation for White because they designated him as a franchise player under the new collective bargaining agreement, but were not allowed to prevent him from leaving because he was a lead plaintiff in one of the lawsuits by the players.

The Eagles are probably better off not signing White. Two first-round picks for a 31-year-old defensive lineman is not a bad deal.

The Eagles' pick this year will be slotted between the Los Angeles Raiders, who were 7-9 last year, and the Denver Broncos, who were 8-8. The idea was not to penalize any other team that had a losing record last year in the draft.

The only other player in White's situation is safety Tim McDonald of the Phoenix Cardinals. The Cardinals have been told what they'll get for McDonald if they don't sign him, but Tagliabue didn't announce it because the Cardinals are still negotiating with him. Tagliabue would only say the compensation wasn't as much as the Eagles got for White, but the Cardinals said they would get first- and third-round picks as compensation for McDonald.

The Eagles also are trying to get compensation for Keith Jackson, who left last year for the Miami Dolphins.

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