Here are one beat reporter's first thoughts on Michael Vick’s 6-year, $100 million extension: (Jeff has the details here).
-- It was obvious that the Eagles believed in Vick and were ready to make him their on-field leader last season. But this deal – and particularly the years – exceeds what many of us expected. The team is paying Vick top five money for a season that was half excellent, and half good (and, of course, for the potential that he finally brings Philadelphia a Super Bowl). Vick was at an MVP level for much of 2010 but his play dipped later in the year, leading to questions about which was the real player. It’s hard to envision Vick reaching the heights he was at when he went on his tear in the middle of last season – he won’t have the element of surprise anymore - but I think he’ll be closer to that level than to the Vick who finished the season looking very mortal against the Vikings and Packers. The bigger question is, which Vick will we see in January and February? In giving Vick this deal, the Eagles signal that they believe he can win a championship. His early play last year showed he has the potential to do it, but only if he can play at his highest level when the playoffs roll around.
-- Vick, now 31, will be 37 (or about to turn 37) when this deal expires. The Eagles cut ties with Donovan McNabb when he was 33. It’s not a direct comparison, because they are different players with different histories. McNabb had had a long time with the Eagles and the team was in a transition away from the McNabb era when they dealt him; Vick is just getting starting in Philadelphia and is the leader of Andy Reid’s new team. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are still top players at the ages of 34 and 35 and each recently signed new contracts. Some people point out that Vick didn’t absorb an NFL beating for two years while he was in prison. That’s true, but it’s not as if time completely stopped while he was there. Thirty-one years is still 31 years, and Vick has shown no sign of changing his playing style to take fewer hits. He has already dealt with injuries much of his career - as he ages, will they play an even bigger factor? The Eagles don't seem to think so.
-- Vick’s contract guarantee of about $40 million is roughly equal to what Philip Rivers got in his 6-year, $92 million deal. That sounds about right. Vick and Rivers are each top tier quarterbacks, but neither are as good as Manning or Brady.
-- The effect on DeSean Jackson’s extension may have been vastly overestimated. The Eagles saved about $1.8 million in salary cap space this year by extending Vick. That’s not the kind of sum that’s going to make a Jackson deal suddenly materialize. Maybe they save more when cuts arrive, but those cuts were going to happen regardless of a Vick deal or not. The bottom line: it seems that these two deals were separate and Vick’s signing doesn’t necessarily mean that a Jackson deal is on the horizon.