The subject is being beaten to death on all the normal outlets, but we need to analyze the on-field implications of Michael Vick’s arrival in Philadelphia. Here’s what the move means:
*Vick gets $1.6 million in 2009, which is the same amount he would have gotten had he played in the UFL. The new league set the going rate for him. That’s important, because Vick owes so much money and is in bankruptcy.
*Vick goes to a stable organization. The Eagles will shield him, and the locker room should be strong enough to let Vick in without letting him or the issues surrounding him control them. Donovan McNabb shouldn’t be threated by Vick, either, which will help.
*Vick goes to a West Coast offense. Steve Young on ESPN last night brought up the great point that the offense Vick ran in Atlanta under Greg Knapp is much like what the Eagles run with Andy Reid. That familiarity in plays and in terminology will help Vick jump in much quicker.
*Vick gets to prove himself for one year in Philly, and he could still get a chance to start in 2010. He is clearly a backup and maybe a specialty player in ’09, but the team option his contract will force Philadelphia to trade him or release him for 2010 unless he has a defined role. If he somehow becomes a starter in Philly, he’ll get semi-starter money, but if he doesn’t, he could parlay however he plays into a starting role or at least a competition elsewhere, because the Eagles probably won’t keep him for $5 million in 2010 as just a backup. That should help.
To the Eagles…
*The Eagles upgrade their backup quarterback position. While Vick won’t have the grasp of the offense that A.J. Feeley or even Kevin Kolb does, he will be able to do more to move the offense with a limited package of plays than either of those guys would with a full slate. Given the fact that McNabb has missed multiple games in four of the last seven seasons, that’s a plus for Philly. The upshot is that the Eagles aren’t hitching their entire season to Kolb were McNabb to get hurt, and that’s crucial.
*The Eagles are basically taking a one-year look at Vick. His 2009 salary, $1.6 million, is acceptable for a backup quarterback, and then they have a team option to keep him for just over $5 million in 2010. If Vick establishes himself as a starter (which is a major longshot), taking on that option is a given. And if Vick finds a part-time role that’s valuable, that $5 million tag is doable, especially since 2010 looks now to be an uncapped year.