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Thursday, August 13, 2009
Eagles are a very good fit for Vick

By John Clayton
ESPN.com

Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles might seem to be a strange pairing, but, according to a source, Vick picked the Eagles over offers from two other teams.

The first year of the deal is reportedly $1.6 million with an option for the second year at $5.2 million. He'll make more in the first year of the deal than he would in the United Football League, which could pay him $1.5 million.

But the most interesting item is the terms of the deal -- two years. Donovan McNabb signed a two-year, $24.2 million contract, which was supposed to eliminate any question about who was the Eagles' starting quarterback. After missing two years of football while he was in prison, Vick shouldn't pose a threat to McNabb now, but he will make the rest of the summer and upcoming season interesting.

Here are five questions about the Vick signing:

1. Why the Eagles, and why now?

The Eagles fit the profile. To sign Vick, a team needed to be out of the regular training camp mode in which fans could attend and possibly disrupt practice. The Eagles broke camp Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., before heading to their stadium for a preseason home game against the Patriots. The signing of Vick could be distracting enough, but the team won't be exposed to protests in public while practice is going on because the team can train at its facility. The Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals also broke camp, but neither team was interested in Vick.

2. How will Vick fit into the Eagles' offense?

Vick is a running quarterback, and Andy Reid is a coach who prefers to pass. The Eagles were down a quarterback with the knee injury to Kevin Kolb and had to sign an extra arm to get through the training camp. Kolb isn't expected to be out long, so it will be interesting to see where Vick fits into the quarterback rotation. It's pretty clear the Eagles will use some sort of Wildcat offense with Vick.

3. Where will Vick fit onto the roster?

The interesting part of the signing is that Vick won't take up a roster spot in the first five weeks of the season, effectively giving the Eagles an extra player through Oct. 12. It is possible commissioner Roger Goodell could allow him to play during the first five weeks, but the commissioner doesn't have to make that decision now. A ruling could come a week or two before the start of the regular season.

4. Do the Eagles have the organizational resolve to handle the possible protests and potential losses in corporate sponsorships?

Vick is going to a strong organization. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie maximizes the revenues from his reasonably new stadium. The Eagles have very loyal fans. Reid is a strong coach who can block out distractions and keep the team focused. Vick couldn't find a better team to support him.

5. Why did he go with the Eagles instead of the United Football League?

It was clear that Vick wants to play only in the NFL. The UFL would have been a last hope. Vick now gets the best of both worlds. He makes more than he would have collected in the UFL. Plus, he wanted the chance to get back in the NFL to re-establish his career. In getting a two-year contract, he has time to learn on the job, play a little bit under the supervision of good coaches and be a more viable player by the 2010 season.

John Clayton, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.