Friday, 14 August 2009

Surprise: Michael Vick signs deal with Philadelphia Eagles

The tale of Michael Vick(notes) has taken more twists and turns than one of his pinball-like touchdown runs. This may be the biggest one yet.
The embattled Vick has signed a one-year deal with an option for a second year with the Philadelphia Eagles, a team previously thought to have no interest in him.
Philadelphia was barely mentioned when the so-called experts spoke of possible destinations for Vick, making his signing a big surprise in NFL circles. At first it was thought that he would go some place he could immediately contribute (like, say, San Francisco), but in recent weeks the speculation focused on teams with established quarterbacks and a strong front office. And though the Eagles fit that description, they weren't among the destinations bandied about by analysts. (New England and, most recently, Pittsburgh were the rumored landing spots.)
That's not why Vick-to-Philly is so surprising though. (He was going to end up somewhere, after all.) It's surprising because the Eagles already have two quarterbacks they like -- Donovan McNabb(notes) and Kevin Kolb(notes) -- on their roster. Vick would seem to be a third wheel, albeit a speedy one.
It's not a bad signing by the Eagles though. Getting Vick is a risk, but one that isn't nearly as great as you might imagine. In fact, football-wise, it's practically zero. The first year of the deal is only for a reported $1.6 million (that's about what the Eagles paid for kicker David Akers(notes) in 2008), which means the Eagles can do whatever they want with Vick -- play him, trade him or cut him -- without much worry. Maybe they'll play him at running back or run him in the Wildcat or sit him on the bench. Everything is on the table. (For what it's worth, Andy Reid said that the Eagles didn't get Vick to sit him on the bench. Of course, 48 hours ago Reid said that the Eagles weren't interested at all in Vick.)
There may be a brief public backlash, but that angle is overrated. People have short memory spans and PETA doesn't hold as much sway as it likes to think. Philly will take a minor hit in this news cycle and probably another when Vick makes his debut (possibly on October 18 against Oakland).
For Vick, it's not ideal that he signed with a team with two solid quarterbacks, but you know what they say about beggars and choosers. He recently told David Squires of the Hampton Daily Press that he wasn't concerned about being a backup:
"I'll be happy with being a No. 2 and letting the other guy play as long as he's playing well," Vick said with a smile. "Then if he's not, we'll see."
Will he be concerned with being a No. 3, as he may be in Philadelphia? Or what about being a spot running back? That these are even questions suggests that Vick didn't have many options, so any team that was willing to give him money was a team that made sense for him.
Whether it ends up making sense for the Eagles is another question entirely. As always with Michael Vick, expect the unexpected.
Related: Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles

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