The unlikely story of Michael Vick going from prison inmate to the face of the Eagles' franchise took perhaps its biggest step Monday night when news broke of a new six-year deal for the quarterback.
Back in July, when the Eagles went on their signing spree, I wrote that Vick was at the center of all their moves. And I really believe that. When Andy Reid stuck with Vick last season, instead of going back to Kevin Kolb, he was giving him the opportunity to take control of this franchise.
And that's what Vick did. He set career highs with a 62.6 completion percentage, 3,018 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 8.1 yards per attempt and a 100.2 QB rating, which trailed only Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers.
The Eagles went 8-3 in games he started, and while there were bumps in the road, particularly at the end of the season when the team's season ended in the wild-card round, Vick won over his teammates, the coaching staff and ownership.
Much, but not all, of the fan base too.
When management refused to discuss DeSean Jackson's holdout during training camp, Vick stepped up and answered reporters' questions day after day.
When the inexperienced offensive line nearly got Vick killed on Thursday night, he was quick to defend them.
When free agents were asked why they wanted to come to Philadelphia, Vick's name came up time and again.
And so now, he is the face of the next era of Philadelphia Eagles football. There will surely be controversy during his tenure. A couple weeks ago, it was a GQ article in which Vick talked about race, remorse and Roger Goodell's role in pushing him to Philly.
Last week, it was ESPN The Magazine, which ran a photo and article asking the question: What if Vick were white?
But by all accounts, he is focused on football, working closely with Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg to correct the issues he had at the end of last season. He is now entrusted in doing what no quarterback in this city has ever done before: bringing the franchise its first Super Bowl.
HOW VICK'S DEAL STACKS UP
I haven't seen Vick's signing bonus reported yet, but here's how his deal stacks up to some of the other ones for quarterbacks in recent years:
In regards to the length of the deal, remember that years are not usually important because players can be cut at any time. Whatever Vick's signing bonus is will be pro-rated over six years, so that is the number to keep an eye on. In other words, that's the money that is guaranteed to Vick in the back end of the deal.
One thing to keep in mind is the state of Vick's finances. Lester Munson of ESPN.com laid out the details in a report last December. Per Munson, nearly two-thirds of every dollar Vick earned went to creditors and taxes and he's living on a court-ordered budget until 2015.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR DESEAN
Pretty much as soon as the deal was announced, many of you asked what it meant for DeSean Jackson.
Les Bowen over at Eagletarian has confirmed that Vick's cap number has been reduced from $16M to $14.4M with the new deal. In other words, the Eagles freed up $1.6M in cap space by extending Vick.
Earlier Thursday, Pro Football Talk listed cap numbers for every NFL team. They had the Eagles with $2.1M left in cap room before the Vick deal.
But remember, cap room can change on a daily basis. For example, if the Eagles were to get rid of a veteran like cornerback Joselio Hanson, they would free up a reported $2.4M.
Given the way Joe Banner and Howie Roseman worked with the cap this offseason and signed Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin and others, it seems reasonable to assume cap limitations won't prevent them from signing Jackson. The bigger hurdle could be agreeing on what Jackson is worth.
The team did gain some leverage with the franchise tag. They obviously won't need to use it on Vick next year and have it in their back pocket to use on Jackson if the two sides can't agree to a long-term deal.
In other words, the Eagles really control Jackson through at least 2012.
A couple weeks ago, I outlined why it makes sense to pay Jackson, along with what he might be worth.
Now we find out if that becomes the team's next order of business.