#7, at least not Michael Vick’s #7, will not be entering the Philadelphia ring of honor anytime soon. The reason is obvious though, Vick will not be playing in Philadelphia after this season ends. Vick’s contract would seem to eliminate the possibility that the turnover prone Vick would be able to be moved from Philadelphia in any deal that the Eagles could swallow. There is a loophole though, and after the Eagles fire Andy Reid and, if he keeps his job, GM Howie Roseman takes the reigns back from Reid, they will get rid of the enigmatic starter.
Just prior to the 2011 season, Michael Vick signed his first major contract since his downfall in Atlanta. Philadelphia signed him to a six-year, $100 million contract. There were two specific clauses in that contract that change the contract greatly. The first has already been satisfied and has changed the contract from the original six-year, $100 million, to a five-year, $80 million contract. Vick only had to play 35% of the offensive snaps in any season of the deal for the final year to be voided. Regardless of the reduction in value of the contract, the Eagles are still on the hook for the full $32.5 million guaranteed portion of the contract.
The more important catch in the contract is the Eagle’s ability to cut Michael Vick before three days after the Superbowl to eliminate being on the hook for any more of the contract. Vick can be removed from Philadelphia without incurring any other cap hits, penalties or extra costs associated with his contract, as long as they make the decision prior to the deadline. There is no doubt in my mind that Howie Roseman and the Eagles will exercise this ability and kick Vick to the curb. My best guess is that Nick Foles will now start the rest of the season to get a better look at his abilities and to increase the probability that the Eagles will earn a top draft pick in next year’s draft.
Where will Vick end up next season is the next important question, and while there will be many rumors and secret teams emerging when this all plays out, I believe there are two teams that stand above the rest as potential spots. What is really interesting is that the two best spots are in the same division, the NFC West.
1. San Francisco 49ers
This has to be the ideal landing spot in Vick’s eyes. Not necessarily from the Niners’ point of view, but certainly from Vick’s side. The 49ers have been coasting along with Alex Smith at QB and attempting to groom Colin Kaepernick, but Vick, if held in check, would be a huge upgrade on both of these options. 49ers GM Trent Baalke hasn’t been known for making big splashes in the free agent market, but they would be wise to sign Vick to a two-year deal worth roughly $15-18 million to give them a better shot at the Superbowl for those couple years and to have Kaepernick learn from a fellow mobile QB for a couple years. The biggest problem in this deal is selling Vick on the contract, knowing that he isn’t the long-term answer. However, Vick must realize that this would be the best way for him to earn the ring he has been searching for ever since his redemption story began. This is a win-win for the Niners and Vick, let’s hope both sides realize this in the off-season and pull the trigger.
2. Arizona Cardinals
This landing spot would be a much bigger deal for Arizona than it would for Vick, but that doesn’t make it a bad spot for Vick either. The biggest problem here is that Vick would have just left a situation where he was getting knocked around every week in Philly because of that offensive line, but Arizona’s line is not any better. What could save this deal is if Arizona winds up with a top 10 pick and can land a top offensive tackle to protect Vick’s blind side. Between the potential of that defense and the weapons in the receiving game, this could be a potential Kurt Warner-like signing for the Cards. GM Rod Graves has shown he is willing to bring in cast off veterans to compete and this could be the spark this team needs to make it back to the playoffs. Does Graves really want to risk his job on another Eagles QB though? Dangerous, but ultimately would be worth it, this team has too much talent to let it languish at the hands of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.
I look forward to the summer of overblown Michael Vick commentary and speculation on ESPN. He can’t change a franchise on his own, he has shown he no longer has that type of potential. But Vick is still a game changer and could take the right team to a Superbowl and the NFC West is his best shot. Should be an interesting 2013 free agent period next year.