The NFL contract that totals nine digits, even if most of it's in funny money, is a fairly rare thing. Who would have expected Michael Vick to be the first player in NFL history to amass two of them in his career?
It's happened, though. In 2004, Vick signed a $130 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons that went wrong for a host of reasons. And after what must seem like a lifetime later for Vick, he has agreed to a six-year, $100 million deal with approximately $40 million guaranteed. The deal will average $16 million in each of the first three years.
Under the terms of the new CBA, using the franchise tag on Vick this season was going to cost the Eagles $16.057 million. The National Football Post's Andrew Brandt reports that Vick's cap number will now go from $16.2 million to $14.4 million in 2011.
Multiple sources indicate that the deal is not backloaded, as many such deals are — Vick reportedly has the potential to earn as much as $16.7 million per season in each of the next three seasons.
In 2010, after serving nearly two years in federal prison for dogfighting and spending 2009 as a glorified backup for the Eagles, Vick brought a new version of himself to the field. In just 12 games, Vick passed for 3,018 yards and 21 touchdowns against just six interceptions and 233 completions in 373 attempts. He did also miss time with injuries, and that's a concern going forward — it's most likely why the deal is front-loaded. Vick's physical, run-heavy playing style puts him in the crosshairs of enemy defenders with great frequency. And at age 31, he'll have to change that style sooner than later.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg gave Vick the keys to a new playing style. In 2010, he was generally far less frenetic in and out of the pocket than he ever was with the Atlanta Falcons from 2001 through 2006.
This deal leaves the Eagles about $4 million under the current salary cap, even after a very aggressive offseason. The next challenge will be to sign receiver DeSean Jackson to a long-term deal before he becomes a free agent (or is franchised) next year.