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Philadelphia Eagles expected to franchise Michael Vick

Michael Vick will get the franchise tagMichael Vick can stop hunting for a part time job because he will get paid! ESPN reports that the Philadelphia Eagles will apply the franchise tag to Mike Vick. Vick will receive a modest increase of $15 million for 2011. Now if only Mark Brunell can get a similar deal for his bankruptcy relief.

The franchise tag is the best possible scenario for Vick and one of the more odd choices by the Philadelphia Eagles I have seen in 30 years of being a fan. If there is one thing I will say about the birds the last few years is that they aren’t cheap when it comes to free agency and spending. They have been in the mix for elite free agents like Randy Moss and Julius Peppers and spent the money acquiring Asante Samuel and Jason Peters via trade. But spending $20 million on a quarterback whose last season throw was an interception in the end zone to end a playoff game seems a bit odd to me.

I am not saying that the Eagles should not have signed Michael Vick. I think the Eagles should absolutely lock up Vick. Locking up Vick for three years or using the franchise tag for $20 million though are totally different things. I don’t know what the hold up on getting a deal done could have been. I think it was fairly obvious by October that Vick was the next franchise QB. Why the need to go the franchise route with a guy you could have finalized a deal with all season is one of those mysterious Eagles questions like how many teams really wanted Donovan McNabb last year.

The obvious question here is Kevin Kolb. There are already reports that the Eagles are entertaining trade offers for Kolb. I don’t think that is necessarily news. Hell I am sure the Indianapolis Colts would listen to trade offers for Peyton Manning but never pull the trigger. I know that some hardcore Eagles fans would like to believe that the Eagles could get a first or second round draft pick for Kolb. I don’t see it. He has only played a handful of games in the NFL and when a seasoned vet like Donovan McNabb is only worth a second round draft pick, how many teams are really giving anything up beyond a three for Kolb? It could happen as long as there are guys like Daniel Snyder or Al Davis around but I’d find it highly unlikely.

I can’t understand why the Eagles would want to trade Kolb at all (and maybe they don’t). The Eagles traded away McNabb with Kolb and Vick on the roster, confident that one or both of them could be starting NFL QBs. Kevin Kolb is under contract for one more year for $1.4 million. To put that into perspective, Marc Bulger made $3.8 million last season as a backup and never took a snap! Having a capable backup quarterback like Kevin Kolb under contract for $1.4 million especially in a season that may be shortened is truly a stroke of genius by the Eagles personnel department.

If there is one thing that NFL fans saw in 2010 it is that the quarterback position is more unstable than ever. Teams like the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys did a tremendous job of having a backup that gave their teams just as much of a chance to win as the starting quarterbacks. Teams like the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, and Arizona Cardinals did not. Having a capable backup quarterback is almost as valuable to an NFL team as having a reliable starter at the position.

Is Michael Vick worth $20 million? Maybe not but he is certainly worth a long term contract to the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick had a remarkable season with career highs in yards passing (3,018), touchdowns passing (21), touchdowns rushing (9), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2). He went 8-3 as a starter, the Eagles won the division and got a first-round playoff game in a season that most predicted would be more a rebuilding year than a playoff year.

As much as I enjoyed watching Michael Vick play, the offensive line for the Eagles was downright atrocious at times. I think there is less of a chance of Vick starting all sixteen NFL games than Jimmy Clausen winning an NFL MVP award. Not only do the Eagles need to keep Kolb, they need to re-sign him. I know what he says about being a starter but if the money is right, he will likely stay with the team. There is no reason to believe that Vick is going to start every game over the course of his deal so Kolb will have plenty of opportunities to start for the team. He knows the coach, he knows the system, and unfortunately he knows his offensive line. Yet at the end of the day this is the best case scenario for everyone.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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