Regardless of End Result, 1-Year Restructured Deal Is a Win-Win for Vick, Eagles

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistFebruary 11, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to run against the Atlanta Falcons during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 28, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It's clear to all of us that the Philadelphia Eagles don't know who their next franchise quarterback will be, which is why it's important right now for the team to generate as much competition as possible for said role.

That's why, even though he'd worn out his Philadelphia welcome in the eyes of many Eagles fans, it's great for the short- and long-term health of the franchise that Michael Vick has dropped the stubborn act and agreed to restructure his contract to stay in the City of Brotherly Love for the 2013 season.

The value of the deal hasn't been reported, but the Eagles certainly won't be paying the 32-year-old the $15.5 million he was due to make next season, meaning they'll gain some cap space while not having to sacrifice talent at the most important position on the field. 

Even if you don't believe that Vick—who has turned the ball over 33 times in 23 games the last two seasons—is the long-term answer (and few believe he is), competition is almost always good for teams in flux. The Eagles have made it clear already that Vick will be forced to compete, presumably with Nick Foles and whomever else is brought in, for the right to start. 

The last time that was the case was also the last time Vick was playing for a long-term contract. That was 2010, and Vick squashed Kevin Kolb in their early-season quarterback battle before putting together the best campaign of his NFL career. He signed a big contract in the ensuing offseason and hasn't been the same since. 

In addition to the competition and the increased financial incentive, the arrival of Chip Kelly could work as a third catalyst capable of lighting a fire under Vick. He fits Kelly's mold to much more of an extent than Foles or any of the noted external candidates (Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, Geno Smith). 

This doesn't mean Foles is necessarily done, either. It wouldn't hurt the second-year quarterback to spend a full season on the sideline, but he'd inevitably get some chances as Vick's backup anyway. The Eagles realize that until they know for sure who their man is, they'd be silly to cast anyone aside. 

The key takeaway here, though, is that the pressure is on Vick now. And that's what the Eagles want at a time of uncertainty. If it doesn't work, at least he'll push Foles and others (Dennis Dixon?). And at least he came cheaper than originally advertised. If it doesn't work, you move on after having extra time to consider prospects and alternatives. It's as close to "no harm, no foul" as you can get.

Some Eagles fans will dispute that. If indeed Vick is going to make around $10 million—which is what ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting—there will be many who argue that is still far too much for a player like Vick. But starting quarterbacks are expensive, and the Eagles are still expected to have plenty of money to spend. This development shouldn't impact whom they decide to pay in free agency. 

This also might not jibe with the fresh start many Philly fans had hoped would come when Kelly was hired, but one year with Vick can't possibly stunt the growth of a franchise that doesn't appear to have a phenom waiting in the wings anyway.

Plus, a chance exists that Vick experiences a tremendous rejuvenation in an offensive system that caters to his skills and has him excited. And yes, there's also a chance he continues to be an aging, turnover-plagued train wreck. But is it worth it to find out? Absolutely. Under these circumstances, the Eagles haven't got a lot to lose.