|If Michael Vick’s new contract were the equivalent of a pass-line bet in craps, I’d put my chips on the “don’t.”
Posted: 8/30/2011 1:56:52 AM
As in, don’t give him bank-breaking, Brady-Manning-like money when you don’t have to, and when I’m not sure he’s proven to be worth the investment.
The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly signed Vick on Monday to a 6-year, $100 million contract with $40 million guaranteed. That’s an awfully big check to write if something goes wrong, and it just might.
The Eagles might have felt as if they had no other choice, seeing as they have inked several stars to big deals while amassing this “Dream Team” roster, and it would be hard to explain why you left your franchise quarterback out of cash-piling parade.
But Vick was due to make $16 million this year as their franchise-tagged player anyway. I say pay him this hefty sum for the year, watch and make sure he’s a guy you want to be tied to for the long haul.
I’m not so sure. This is not an indictment of his past transgressions. Regardless of anyone’s feelings toward his past behavior, you can’t dispute he has paid his debt to society and has a right to earn a living in the NFL.
Even so, I’m not convinced his potential for off-field transgressions no longer are an issue. In the past year alone, there was a shooting incident at a birthday for Vick in which he charged admission to guests. No charges were filed, though the victim was one of his co-defendants in the dog-torture case.
The 31-year-old quarterback also openly complained to the media prior to the season about not being named the starter. The real red flag for me, though, were reports that the day after Philadelphia’s 21-16 playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, he said in an interview he was “still the co-MVP” of the league.
At the very least, the context seems inappropriate considering his team was just bounced from the playoffs. The comment prompted quite a bit of backlash, which some media characterized as perhaps racially motivated.
I believe if Tom Brady – the real MVP – made similar comments after New England lost to the Jets in the playoffs, he’d similarly never hear the end of it.
Vick also has shown to still be injury-prone, as he was limited to 11 starts last year after getting banged up against the Washington Redskins. Although you can’t argue with his numbers – 3,108 passing yards with 21 TDs, 676 rushing yards and 9 TDs – I would argue that, while he did improve as a pocket passer, there was an element of renewed novelty at play.
Defenses that hadn’t seen Vick for a while were thrown off the way they were when he entered the league. Teams like the Packers and the Vikings started to catch up with him late in the season, putting a premium on pass-rush lane discipline and limiting Vick’s effectiveness by boxing him in. Philly’s playoff loss ended with Vick tossing an INT in the end zone on the final drive.
The irony is, the same Eagles franchise that picked Vick off the scrap heap is the same one that sketched the blue print for stopping him. In two straight seasons, while Vick was a member of the Atlanta Falcons, the Eagles sent Atlanta home by thwarting Vick at every turn. Vick has a 2-3 career playoff record, and has never fared well in his biggest games.
In the 2005 NFC title game, he was held to 11-of-24 passing for 136 yards and an interception in a 27-10 loss in which he also gained just 32 yards rushing. You’d have to think defensive coordinators in the NFC East and around the league are savvy enough to come up with a respectable version of that game plan.
The 2011 Eagles just made a bold move by gambling on Vick, but it’s a bet I’d advise against making.