Eagles training camp 2013: Michael Vick's contract another wild card
He's the starter, but whether he's the QB of the future hinges on a new deal
Now that Michael Vick has been named the Eagles' starting quarterback, the biggest questions revolve around how well he’ll play and whether he can stay healthy.
But the more Vick succeeds, the more another question will move to the fore: What is the team going to do about his lame-duck status?
In March, Vick will become an unrestricted free agent, unless a new deal is struck, the Eagles confirmed this morning.
Technically, Vick agreed to a three-year deal in February, but the last two years will automatically void after the postseason, a permissible accounting trick that lets the club spread out the salary-cap hit of signing bonuses.
With incentives, Vick reportedly can earn as much as $10 million this season.
And that’s coming off a bad year.
With yearly average incomes of $16 million to more than $20 million for the top half-dozen quarterbacks, according to Forbes, a great season by Vick could have him seeking the likes of the five-year $80 million deal that he signed in August 2011, and which was scheduled to pay him about $15.5 million for this season, before the renegotiation.
If you think Vick’s too old at 33 to land another mega-deal, realize he’s younger and healthier than Peyton Manning was when he signed a six-year, $96 million deal with the Denver Broncos early last year – after missing an entire season due to neck surgery.
So the general manager Howie Roseman is in a tricky spot.
The Eagles have to wait to make sure Vick can handle coach Chip Kelly’s new offensive system, and can avoid the hits that resulted in turnovers and a serious concussion that kept Vick from starting for a month and a half last season.
Rushing into a big contract is always risky, even if NFL contracts are never fully guaranteed.
Besides, Vick’s performance has dropped in the past after signing major deals.
“You're at your best when the best is required," Vick said Tuesday. "Sometimes it's hard to get it out of yourself. Sometimes you need to be motivated. You need to be pushed."
But letting Vick play out the entire season could be costly as well – if he returns to the stellar level of play of a couple of years ago.
He could turn out to be the quarterback of some other team’s future.
Or command a king’s ransom.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.