The Eagles today announced they have placed the franchise tag on QB Michael Vick and the transition tag on K David Akers.
The Vick move was expected -- a source close to the situation had told the Daily News last month that because Vick hit incentives that raised his compensation more than 30 percent from 2009 to 2010, the team cannot negotiate a new agreement with him until it tags him (and presumably, he accepts). The Akers move came as "a surprise and a disappointment," said agent Jerrold Colton.
As Colton noted, the NFLPA is contending the tags are invalid, with the collective bargaining agreement expiring March 4 and the league expected to move into a lockout then. But the Eagles probably want to attend to all procedures the league deems necessary to retain their rights going forward, whether the tags exist in their current form in a new CBA or not.
By franchising Vick, the Eagles guarantee that he will make the average of the top 5 players at his position last season; those figures haven't been releasedi, but $20 million for 2011 might be a good guess, again, assuming there is a tag and that a long-term deal is not reached.
Vick's agent, Joel Segal, has not responded to a request for comment.
Akers, 36, is in a trickier spot than Vick, 30. Akers gave a tearful farewell address following the Birds' 21-16 wild-card round playoff loss to the Packers, in which Akers missed two field goals he normally would make, against the backdrop of his young daughter's ovarian cancer diagnosis. Eagles coach Andy Reid noted after the game that anyone who could count could figure out that the field goals cost six points in a five-point loss.
By transition tagging Akers -- a designation the team has not used since 1998, on defensive tackle Rhett Hall -- the Eagles get the right of first refusal, should he get an offer elsewhere (which, again, is not going to happen until there is a CBA.) If he plays under the tag, Akers will get a minimum offer of the avrerage of the top 10 at his position, or 120 percent of his 2010 salary, whichever is greater. Akers would seem to be in line to make close to $3 million.
Colton acknowledged that talks toward a longer term deal during the 2010 season were not productive. "We were very far apart on financial terms and structure," Colton said.
Akers is known to have lost the bulk of his savings over the past few years in an investment recommended by close friend and former teammate Koy Detmer. Triton Financial of Austin, Tx., the company in question, has been sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for defrauding investors. So a signing bonus, which would only come with a longer-term deal, might be important to him as a way of rebuilding his assets.
Colton said that while Akers appreciates that the tag means the Eagles want him to be their kicker in 2011, he hopes the tag will be the prelude to "an appropriate, longer-term contract" for a man who has been "a great player here for 12 years, a good citizen, loyal, who wants to finish his career here."
Here's what the team said in a release:
"Michael Vick and David Akers were two of our most valuable players last year," said head coach Andy Reid. "They were well deserving of their Pro Bowl berths and we’re happy to take this step to ensure that they’ll be back in Philadelphia next season."
Vick enjoyed his finest season as pro in 2010 with career highs in QB rating (100.2), completion percentage (62.6), and passing yards (3,018) while becoming just the 2nd player in league history to throw for 3,000+ yards, rush for 500+ yards and accrue a 100+ QB rating in one season, joining Steve Young (1992). Along the way, Vick earned a starting spot on the NFC Pro Bowl squad while garnering NFL Comeback player of the year honors.
A five-time Pro Bowl selection and the leading scorer in Eagles history (1,323 points), Akers completed his 12th season in Philadelphia in 2010 by leading the NFL in scoring with 143 points. Since 2000, Akers leads the NFL in points scored (1,312) and field goals (291) and was named to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 2000s. The Eagles all-time leader in games played with 188, Akers also ranks third in league history with 134 career postseason points.
The Eagles also announced that defensive end Trent Cole has undergone an arthroscopic "debridement" of his right elbow.
Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for even more Birds coverage, including app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here. On sale through the end of the season for just $0.99!