The Eagles plan to use the franchise tag on quarterback Michael Vick and listen to trade offers for backup Kevin Kolb, according to a report, confirming two moves that have long been expected.
It has been reported for some time that franchising Vick was not only likely but necessary to keep the Pro Bowl quarterback in Philadelphia. ESPN cited a "league source" in reporting Sunday that Vick will be franchised, indicating that the team has definitively decided to bring back the quarterback in 2011.
A league source confirmed the report Sunday night.
"You know what? It is what it is," Vick told The Inquirer Sunday after the NFC's lopsided win in the Pro Bowl. "It's great to know they did want to have me around for another year. I'm going to make the most of it, and I'm going to do everything that I'm asked to do, continue to put myself in the position to excel, and help this team win. That's the most important thing - have a better year this year coming up than last year."
In theory, Vick could have hit the free-agent market once a new collective bargaining agreement was signed, although there has never been any indication that the Eagles would let Vick walk.
ESPN also reported that the Eagles would listen to trade offers for Kolb but did not cite a source. With Vick widely expected to return, though, the logical move for the Eagles is to at least listen to offers for their backup. Asked about the accuracy of the report on both Vick and Kolb, the team had no comment.
"Well, that's a part of the business," Vick said of the possibility that Kolb will be traded. "Hopefully they do [trade Kolb] and Kevin will find a great place to play. If not, then maybe he'll end up back with us. So best of luck to Kevin and whatever they decide, and I'll talk to him."
To keep Vick from free agency, the Eagles would have to use the franchise tag, at least temporarily, a league source told The Inquirer. Because Vick hit contract incentives in 2010 that pushed his salary above 30 percent of his 2009 pay, the Eagles can't extend his deal.
The limit is part of contract rules in place due to the NFL's expiring collective bargaining agreement. Even if the Eagles eventually want to offer a long-term contract, they have to use the franchise tag first.
NFL officials said last week that they expect a franchise tag - or some similar mechanism for keeping star players - to remain in place even though the current labor deal ends March 3. The franchise tag allows teams to prevent a player from reaching free agency and requires that the team pay the average of the top five salaries at that position.
It has been unclear to this point what the Eagles planned to do with Kolb: keep him as a backup for one more year or deal him while they could still get something in return.
Kolb, with a relatively low salary for a quarterback of $1.4 million next season, could be attractive to teams who need a new signal-caller, while the Eagles, who have invested four years in him, stand to lose Kolb for nothing after his contract ends after the 2011-12 season. Kolb has said he wants to be a starter next season, which would mean finding a new team.
Vick's aggressive style, though, means he takes more hits than many quarterbacks, so the Eagles will also want a viable backup on hand, which could drive up the price to pry Kolb loose.
ESPN reported that the Eagles are willing to trade Kolb if the right deal is offered. In the Eagles' favor: Kolb won two of three games he started and finished last season. Also, this year's quarterback draft class is considered weak.
Unless a new CBA is worked out, though, player movement will likely be frozen when the new league year begins March 4. If an NFL lockout begins that day, as expected, the Eagles wouldn't be able to deal Kolb until a new agreement is signed, which might mean waiting until after the 2011 draft. In that case, the Eagles would most likely receive draft picks in 2012.
Player-for-player trades have been relatively rare in the NFL.
The coordinator search. The Eagles may have competition for Darren Perry if they are in fact interested in the Packers assistant for their defensive-coordinator opening.
The Raiders are waiting until after the Super Bowl to request permission to interview Perry, according to the Oakland Tribune. A report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday indicated that the Eagles were also in pursuit of the safeties coach.
Perry is just one of several candidates for the Eagles job, however, a league source close to the team has told The Inquirer.
Perry still has a year left on his contract, so Green Bay does not have to grant permission to either team. Packers coach Mike McCarthy declined to answer questions from reporters on Saturday as to whether the Eagles or Raiders had asked to talk with Perry.
Under league tampering rules, they cannot until after the Super Bowl is played on Sunday.
The Eagles also could be courting one of the Packers' other assistants, such as defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach Winston Moss, or outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene. But Trgovac told the Wisconsin State Journal on Sunday that he is not interested in leaving Green Bay. "If it's my choice, I will be here next year."
Perry was the defensive backs coach for Oakland from 2007 to 2008 before he moved on to Green Bay. He told the Virginian-Pilot on Saturday that he was ready to become a coordinator.