Shutdown Corner - NFL

According to an Associated Press report, the Philadelphia Eagles are seriously considering cutting quarterback Michael Vick(notes). The report says that the team is thinking of making this move no matter what the findings are in the current investigation into a shooting that happened at Vick's birthday celebration last week.

However, a source close to Shutdown Corner with knowledge of the situation believes that the $5.2 million the team owes the quarterback this season may play a larger part in the final decision, and that releasing Vick would be financially prohibitive unless NFL discipline was a factor. With former star quarterback Donovan McNabb(notes) off to the Washington Redskins, and Kevin Kolb(notes) still relatively untried as a successful starter, the Eagles are more in need of depth at the position than they have been in years. And the size of Vick's 2010 salary indicates that the Eagles have had bigger plans for Vick this season. 

But that's on the field. What none of this accounts for is the specter of Vick's possible bad judgment. His longtime suspension and prison term relating to his involvement in the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting ring is well-documented, though Vick had kept his nose clean since his conditional reinstatement into the NFL in July of 2009. But the circumstances surrounding that shooting have put Vick in the crosshairs. The victim, former Bad Newz co-defendant Quanis Phillips, suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting, and Vick's lawyer has told the media that his client left the party 10 to 20 minutes before the shooting occurred.

However, reports indicate that time-stamped video from the Guadalajara Restaurant in Virginia Beach, Virginia, shows Vick leaving approximately three minutes before the shooting occurred. Vick is not believed to be a suspect in the shooting, but as a condition of his probation, he is not allowed to associate with anyone convicted of a felony without the knowledge and approval of his probation officer. If Vick is found to be in violation of his parole, NFL penalties could soon follow. That could leave the Eagles between a rock and a hard place - torn between a financially difficult player termination and the possibility that Vick could lose time in the 2010 season. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie has also made it clear in multiple statements that Vick is operating under a zero-tolerance policy.

In the letter to Vick that accompanied his reinstatement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had this to say:

I accept that you are sincere when you say that you want to, and will, turn your life around, and that you intend to be a positive role model for others. I am prepared to offer you that opportunity. Whether you succeed is entirely in your hands.

Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited. I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you and to dedicate yourself to rebuilding your life and your career. If you do this, the NFL will support you.

Vick signed with the Eagles in August and had mixed results last year in limited opportunities. Used primarily as an option quarterback, he completed six passes in 13 attempts for 86 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 24 attempts.

There have been recent rumors that former Eagles quarterback and current free agent Jeff Garcia(notes) might re-join the team to serve as veteran insurance behind Kolb and developmental quarterback Mike Kafka(notes). If Vick were to be out of the picture, those rumors could gain legs.

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