The Eagles designated Michael Vick their franchise player before the lockout happened, and they know he'll be under contract through 2011. Beyond that? Well, no one knows for sure. But Vick's agent, Joel Segal, said in an interview with the NFL Network this morning that Vick would be open to the idea of a long-term contract with Philadelphia. Per the Eagles' web site:
"I think a long-term deal is something both sides would covet. I will talk to Joe Banner and explore that," Segal said via telephone. "I think Mike is amenable to it. He'd look forward to it. (He) loves Philly, loves the fans. He's a big Marty (Mornhinweg) fan, Andy Reid fan. If the Eagles are interested, we're definitely interested."
The last part there is key, and it's probably still an "if," as I believe it should be. What Vick did last year for the Eagles was completely incredible. There is simply no other quarterback in the league capable of doing all that he is capable of doing on the field. If they're certain he can repeat his 2010 performance in 2011, the Eagles should lock him up now, because the price is going to go through the roof.
But that's the "if" part, isn't it? Nobody knows if Vick can do that again in 2011. Sure, he still has that brilliant young core of offensive talent around him. Sure, they've done a little bit of work on upgrading the offensive line in front of him. But it was only one year, and there's a lot of film out there for people to study. There was no rule, during the lockout, against coaches reviewing game tape from last year. There's a decent chance that's all they did. Defensive coordinators are going to have new ways of coming at Vick in 2011, and until we see how he adjusts to their adjustments, there's just no way to make a long-term bet here. Add in that Vick, due to his history and the way he plays the game, is no sure bet to stay healthy, and you have a big enough question mark to justify letting him play out the year for his franchise tender and dealing with this next spring.
What will be interesting is to see what the Eagles do behind Vick. We know they like Mike Kafka for the long-term, but if they deal away Kevin Kolb as expected, they'll be bringing in a more game-ready veteran to be Vick's backup. The identity of that player, and the way he and Kafka perform and develop in their backup roles in 2011, could have a lot to do with the Eagles' ultimate decision on Vick. If Vick is ordinary in 2011, the Eagles could feel a lot differently than they do now about whether he's their future.
They do know that he's their present, and that's what matters to the Eagles right now. They're also pretty sure Vick isn't going to make trouble about his contract. He'd be crazy to do so, considering the chance Reid and the Eagles took on him and the way it's paid off for him as well as them. He'd have no support publicly if he started crying about his contract, and Segal's comments indicate that he has no plans to do so. If the Eagles are interested, Segal said, so is Vick. For now, that remains an "if," and the Eagles are right to wait and see Vick do it again before they make a decision on his future in Philadelphia.