Michael Vick will remain the Eagles' starting quarterback. (Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid released a statement on Wednesday confirming that Michael Vick will remain the team's starting quarterback.
The Eagles visit the New Orleans Saints next Monday night, so the team will not be practicing — or meeting with the media to discuss the decision to remain with Vick at quarterback — until Thursday. The Saints have the NFL's worst defense, one that is on pace to set an NFL record for yards allowed in a season, so it makes some sense for Reid to maintain the status quo at the quarterback position and hope for a win to pull even at 4-4.
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But a change at quarterback is certainly coming, which even Vick hinted at following the Eagles' 30-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
"Obviously he's thinking about making a change at the quarterback position," Vick said according to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. "The thing I do know, and I'll go watch the film and evaluate myself, is that I'm giving us every opportunity to win. I'm trying my hardest. Some things don't go right, when I want them to, some things do. So if that's a decision that coach wants to make, then I support it."
Even if Vick finishes out the season as the starter, the only chances he has of returning to the Eagles in a starting role in 2013 is by leading the team on a deep playoff run or restructuring his contract. As we've noted on Shutdown Corner a few times over the last couple of weeks, Vick is due $15.5 million in base salary in 2013, the third season of a five-year, $80 million extension he signed on Aug. 30, 2011. Currently, $3 million of that base salary is guaranteed against injury, which turns into a full guarantee if Vick is on the roster on the second day of the 2013 waiver wire period, which typically begins the day after the Super Bowl. The Eagles currently have around $120 million in cash committed to 2013, the second-highest total in the NFL, but they can get out from under Vick's $15.5 million salary by releasing the 32-year-old quarterback right after Super Bowl XLVII.
Through seven games this season, Vick has completed 157 of 266 pass attempts for 1,823 yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions, which results in a passer rating of 78.6. Vick has added 247 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but he's also lost five fumbles, accounting for 13 of the Eagles' 17 giveaways (tied for third-most in the NFL) on the season.
Delving deeper into his statistical performance this season, Football Outsiders has Vick ranked 24th in both its DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) and DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) metrics. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Vick has completed 28 percent of his pass attempts from outside the pocket, which is the worst rate in the NFL.
If and when the Eagles decide to pull the plug on Vick, 2012 third-round pick Nick Foles is expected to get the first shot at the starting job. The 6-foot-5, 243-pound Foles was a three-year starter at the University of Arizona, where he passed for over 10,000 yards with 67 touchdown passes. Selected with the 88th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, Foles completed 40 of 63 pass attempts for 553 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions during the preseason.
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