Vick's value rising

The drumbeat has begun regarding the future of Michael Vick and his mushrooming market value despite the limited sample of work. Events have transpired to create the perfect storm for both Vick and the Eagles.

Vick’s options were very limited as a free agent in 2009 following his release from prison. The Eagles were the only team showing interest that presented a legitimate chance to contend.  Vick and agent Joel Segal  desperately wanted a one-year deal to hit the market again in 2010 but, without any leverage, reluctantly agreed to a two-year deal.

Vick earned about $100,000 per game in 2009 and now, with combined roster bonus and salary of $5.25 million this year, the Eagles are receiving the benefit of the bargain with Vick's exhilarating play thus far in 2010.

The Eagles entered the offseason with three quarterbacks with expiring contracts. Donovan McNabb was traded to the Redskins (and extended), Kevin Kolb was extended through 2011, and Vick remains in the second year of his two-year pact.

What will happen now? Good question. The Eagles have been as proactive as any team in extending core players prior to their leverage point of free agency.  Vick and Segal do feel loyalty to Andy Reid and the Eagles for their interest at a time when most teams stayed far away. However, Segal and Vick are looking to hit their second home run contract of his career (following the massive deal from the Falcons in 2005) and it has been well documented that Vick has some major debts to pay off.

The quarterback Franchise tag number projected at $16 million is very much in play here. It would allow the Eagles to basically switch out the combined cost of Vick and Kolb from this year to next.

Kolb was extended in the offseason with a $10.7 million bonus along with his $715,000 salary. Thus, for 2010, between Kolb’s $11.415 million and Vick’s $5.25 million, the Eagles are paying out $16.665 million to their top two quarterbacks.

Should the Eagles apply the Franchise tag to Vick in 2011, they will pay Vick approximately $16 million and pay Kolb his scheduled salary of $1.4 million. Thus, the Eagles would pay $17.4 million to their top two quarterbacks in 2011, a similar number to this year.

Of course, the above assumes there is a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), a Franchise tag as part of a new CBA (which the Colts are certainly banking on with Peyton Manning) and that Kolb is still an Eagle, as there will likely be a trade market for his services.

A lot can happen here in Philadelphia over the coming months. For now, let’s just enjoy what Andy Reid calls “a beautiful thing” happening with their quarterbacks.

Favre v. Packers IV

For the fourth (and final?) time this Sunday, Brett Favre takes the field against the team for which he was the signature player for 15 years, the Packers.  I will not revisit the divorce here, only noting how different the position the teams come into this game as opposed to last year.  The Packers are starting to flex their muscles, especially defensively with a recent shutout of the Jets, and the Vikings are, well, you know. 

Part of Favre’s ambivalence about returning this season stemmed from sensing the prospect of matching 2009’s performance was small.  Should he lose to the rival Packers for the second time in a month, the cries will grow louder for the team to look to the future, a future not expected to include Favre, although we cannot say that for sure.  The Vikings have held the door open for him through training camp for two years now and it would not be shocking if they left it ajar again.

The much-discussed frostiness between Favre and coach Brad Childress is not new and existed during the astonishing run they had together last season.  Even while not close, Favre is as responsible as anyone in helping Childress secure a contract extension through 2013 (although the last year is the team's option) at this time last season. 

Favre's primary contact point in the Vikings coaching staff has always been offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was with us at the Packers from 2000-2005.  The relationship between Favre and Bevell started out on shaky ground, with Favre not receptive to coaching from the younger Bevell coming to the Packers from the position of wide receivers coach at Connecticut.  Through time and working through conflict, though, the two have developed a close relationship. Bevell has served as Brett's friend, coach and buffer to Childress.

The divorced couple -- Favre and the Packers -- gets together again on Sunday for what most people feel will be the last time.  I am not so sure about that.

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