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 and Vick and agent Joel Segal -- who desperately wanted a one-year deal to hit the market again in 2010 -- reluctantly agreed to a two-year deal with Philadelphia through this season.
Vick earned about $100,000 per game in 2009 and now, with combined roster bonus and salary of $5.25 million this year, represents perhaps the biggest bargain in the NFL due to his exhilarating play thus far in 2010.
The Eagles went into 2010 with three quarterbacks under contract for one more year. Donovan McNabb was traded to the Redskins (and extended), Kevin Kolb was extended through 2011, and Vick remains with an expiring contract.
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 his their interest at a time when most teams stayed far away. However, Segal and Vick will be 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 debt to pay off.
The franchise tag number projected at $16 million is very much in play here. It would allow the Eagles to basically switch out Vick and Kolb from this year to next.
Kolb was extended in the offseason with a $10.7 bonus along with his $715,000 salary. Thus, for 2010, between Kolb's $11.4 million and Vick's $5.25 million, the Eagles will pay 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, one scenario has the Eagles paying a total of $17.4 million to their top two quarterbacks in 2011, a very similar number to this year.
Of course, the above assumes there is a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), a franchise tag again with 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 an active 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.