Heads Up: Vick Vapors

By Justin Cherot

It’s official: Michael Vick is a Philadelphia Eagle. No more speculating about where he’ll end up, or even if he’ll be asked to step in right away into a starting quarterback’s role. Both of those topics went from “hypothetical” to “null and void” around halftime of the Eagles/Pats pre-season game, when the word spread like wildfire.

Officially, $1.6 mill for the first year with a team option for a second year at $5.2 mill. To me, the first year makes complete sense. Colin can correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s probably a good number for a back-up QB.

The second year?

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Pretty high amount to pay for a back-up, although I found Andy Reid’s comments in the paper intriguing.

“I’m sure I can find a way to use him.”

So yeah… expect to see him in a number of different formations and sets as a change of pace QB/WR/HB/tackle eligible receiver (okay, the last one was an attempt at a joke) once he regains eligibility between now and Week 6. I say “between now and Week 6” because, contrary to initial reports, commish Roger Goodell can consider him for full re-instatement in that time frame, meaning theoretically he can be on the field by, say, Week 3.

Off the field, what kind of freakish sideshow can we expect? PETA is reportedly not happy with the move, saying that they’re disappointed with the Eagles, so at least on that front I would expect picketers outside of every home game and probably a few on the road, too. I expect shock jocks on the radio to second guess the move, kind of how I just did about the second year of his deal. Every interview will include the inevitable, “How have you changed?” question or some variant of it. I expect stand-up comedians and conservative talk show hosts enjoying a few laughs at his expense.

The stuff off the field is a ton easier to predict than what will transpire on it. But, one thing is for sure: let the Michael Vick experience begin.

by Colin Donohue

I’m pretty sure Justin and I are on the same page about the Vick thing. I believe we both think that he deserves a chance to play again. Shouldn’t this whole conversation be centered on rehabilitation? I think so. I guess I’m an idealist. I think people should be rehabilitated when they go to jail, not simply punished. I’m not naive to think that everyone can be saved. It won’t happen. But I get the sense that Vick has learned from his horrid mistakes, and he’s willing to help others avoid the same pitfalls. So I’m happy that a team took a chance on Vick. And it’s probably a good thing the organization to take him on was the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now, I’m no Eagles fan. But I’m going to bestow some kind words on Philly’s team. The Eagles are a strong organization with strong people in high personnel positions. They have a tenured coach and a pretty tight-knit team. So from an organizational and structural standpoint, this was the right fit for him. He couldn’t go to an organization in constant turmoil (looking at you Oakland Raiders) and expect to be successful. This is a good fit for him. The money he’s making this year is actually much more than I thought he would get. I was expecting him to earn less than a $1 million. And the team option at more than $5 million for next season surprises me, too. If Vick (presumably) isn’t going to be playing QB this season, then you have to think he’s going to catch a few balls, take a few carries and fill a Kordel Stewart-esque role for the Eagles. But why would Philly pick up such a massive option in Year 2. I’m not sure how this makes sound financial sense to them. (Unless they’re expecting Brian Westbrook to fall apart physically this year, which is not out of the question, thus leaving an opening for Vick to be a scat back runner.)

PETA understandably is unhappy with the move. (Of course, they’re typically unhappy about everything.) But the Eagles did this thing the right way. They contacted local animal rights groups and the mayor of Philadelphia and solicited their input before signing Vick. The mayor definitely gave his blessing. The animal rights groups I’m not so sure about. But think about it. If you’re a Philadelphia organization that promotes animal rights, you have a guy in town who you can call on to speak to your supporters at your events. You know Vick will be going well out of his way to accommodate all callers so that he can attempt to improve his image and move past his sordid dog fighting past.

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