Is there a more misleading number than the one attached to an NFL contract? People are finally starting to get the hang of asking about guaranteed money, but it’s still a footnote in most cases. Michael Vick signs for 100 MILLION! (~40 million guaranteed). That’s a pretty big difference, isn’t it? Only 40% of the contract is guaranteed and given the nature of the NFL and Vick’s game, he’s probably more likely to end up with closer to 40 million than 100 million. But that 40 million number hasn’t taken away the shock value, the sticker shock of Vick’s new deal. That seems like an awful lot of money people say, failing to realize it makes them sound like an idiot. Under the franchise tag, Vick was scheduled to pull in a massive haul this year. He’ll actually be earning slightly less money under this current deal and then the Eagles committed themselves for one more season. That’s really all that happened. The Eagles put the Mike Kafka era on hold until at least 2013.
The Eagles don’t make commitments easily, and so there was a part of me that thought they’d let Vick ride out the year on the franchise tag. “Let’s see if he breaks,” they’d say while Andy Reid threw Vick into harm’s way like an overgrown kid weaving his new RC car in and out of traffic. Reid and Vick are still an odd match to me. Vick doesn’t seem like the kind of QB Reid always coveted, but then once Reid saw what Vick could do on the field he was blinded. He was an immediate convert. It’s evident in the Vince Young signing. There’s no way that Young would have been the backup they brought in during the McNabb years. They would have been the ones trying to lure Kerry Collins out of retirement.
Other things I see when I look at this deal:
Will they be able to keep Vick healthy enough to get a return on their investment? That would concern me more than the actual salary figure. As always, it isn’t the fan’s money, and the Eagles are always under the cap, so who cares if they pay Michael Vick two million dollars or twenty? But, at almost twenty million per for the first two years if you factor in a likely buyout if they do cut ties, the Eagles are saying they expect Vick to be out there for the next 32 games. You can’t guarantee anyone’s health, but you can certainly have some control over the number of hits a guy takes. Vick does a poor job of limiting contact, and so, you’d like him to be standing behind a stout offensive line. The Eagles have a rookie center, a rookie right guard, and a guy playing out of position. It took three plays for Vick to get hammered in the last pre-season game. You listen to analysts and they say there is no way Vick can stay healthy. Is this true, or is it leftover Vick hate and jealousy manifesting itself in subjective wishful thinking?
Of course the Vick deal also brings to mind DeSean Jackson and his quest to get an extension. I think most Eagles fans expected these deals to happen in concert. Vick comes off the franchise tag to free up some cash and DeSean finally gets his money. After waiting for every single other Eagle to get paid, the big play receiver would finally be happy. Or not. Like I said before, the Eagles don’t come to commitment easily. But, you’d expect if they commit to Vick, they’d want to keep his most dangerous weapon around. It’s going to be hard for the Eagles to swallow that pill though, because DeSean is sitting at that teeny, tiny salary figure for this season. In my opinion, they better get it done, because I don’t see Jackson having even an average season if he plays it out under his current contract.
Finally, I wonder if the two-year agreement with Vick is also a two-year agreement with Andy Reid. For so long it was Reid and McNabb tied closely together, and when they didn’t achieve their goal for more than a decade it was McNabb who was shown the door. Andy, bulletproof as always, gets to stick around and try things with another QB. That was supposed to be Kevin Kolb, but things change, and now Vick is Reid’s meal ticket. I think there is a sense that Reid will finally be under pressure this season. The long tenure is starting to wear on the fan base, they made numerous moves in the off-season that gear toward the present, if Andy Reid isn’t under the gun this year, when will he ever be? Well, I think the answer is probably next season, assuming the Birds don’t win a Super Bowl in that time. I’d imagine Reid will get this year and if he fails will get to write it off as a lot of new guys, new coaches, new schemes and will get a last chance to redeem himself in 2012. If nothing happens there, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Andy finally get shown the door, and of course Michael Vick, and his remaining 60 million non-guaranteed, could follow him out-of-town.