In June, Michael Vick was candid about his feelings regarded the splitting of first team-repetitions with Nick Foles. He said it was difficult and later told CSNPhilly.com that he preferred for Chip Kelly to name a starting quarterback by training camp.
Vick has since backed away from those comments and understandably so, since Kelly has made it quite clear that he wants to see the competition stretch through camp, into the preseason and possibly right up until the season opener.
But with Vick, Foles and the rest of the quarterbacks reporting to the NovaCare Complex today for the start of camp, along with all the rookies, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was asked if Vick was ready for something he's never quite had to endure in the NFL.
"Every conversation I've had, and anyone in this building had with Michael about competition, he's all for it," Roseman said. "He wants the best players to play and he's not shying away from competition in any aspect. He knew that when we signed him. He knew there was going to be competition at every spot, and he said nothing other than he wants to compete."
And yet, Vick said what he said in June, after some believed Foles outperformed him during spring workouts -- albeit in shorts and without pads.
"I didn't get into all that," Roseman said. "Any conversations that we've had with those players has been extremely positive about competition, about camp, about being in here and being in the best shape competing."
But what if Vick were to lose out to Foles or possibly rookie Matt Barkley? Is there a scenario in which the 33-year-old Vick would remain on the roster if he wasn't the starter?
"Well, we haven't gotten to who the starters will be at any position," Roseman said. "But when we signed Michael it was with every intention that he was going to be on this team. He's a very talented guy, and he's really eager to show what he's capable of."
Vick signed a one-year contract in February worth as much as $10 million. He received a $3.5 million bonus and will earn a total of $7 million if he makes the 53-man roster. The rest can be earned in incentives.
The Eagles could save themselves $3.5 million by releasing or in the unlikely event by trading Vick if he was to lose out to Foles or Barkley. But Kelly is likely to need a viable backup option even if Barkley progresses. That being said, Vick would likely want an opportunity to start elsewhere and could try to force his release.
There is still plenty of time before the Eagles would have to make a decision. And, of course, this is still the very strong chance that Vick wins the job outright.
Foles looked confident in the spring, though. Reporters saw only a small sample of practices and the offense and defense were basic. Barkley ran mostly with the third team and doesn't have the arm strength of either veteran. But Roseman said the rookie can't be ruled out of the competition.
"We try to keep an open mind about everyone on our roster," Roseman said. "You have to be open to surprises. You can't just watch the tape looking for certain guys because you may miss something. I think you have to be aware of how everyone is playing, not just the guys that are perceived to be in the competition."
Roseman was asked about what he saw from Barkley in the tape from the spring.
"He gets the ball out quickly. He's a distributor. He's like a really good point guard in basketball," Roseman said. "He knows where to go with the football, he makes good decisions, and then he's going to continue to grow and get better."
The competition begins tomorrow and then in earnest on Friday when the full squad reports.
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