Decision on Michael Vick Could Be Coming for Eagles by Next Week

Decision on Michael Vick Could Be Coming for Eagles by Next Week

Up to this point, we can only speculate who Chip Kelly and
the Eagles will roll with under center next season. Nick Foles seems the
logical choice, if only because he’s under contract and has shown some potential,
but there is also talk coming out of the Senior Bowl that they could look to the
draft. Then there is Michael Vick, who some people still maintain would be a
fit for Kelly’s spread offense.

Believe it or not, the Super Bowl of all events could bring
some clarity to this picture. That’s because as soon as the clock hits zero on
the big game this Sunday, the timer starts ticking on a short three-day window where
the Eagles must release Vick in order to avoid paying him a roster bonus.

The Eagles have until Wednesday, February 6 to reach a decision
on Vick before they owe him $3 million. Assuming he isn’t part of the franchise’s
long-term plans, why give him another penny?

Of course, there is this belief Vick could play quarterback
in Kelly’s system, but even if that were the case, there are several roadblocks
standing in the way.

For starters, Vick has a base salary of around $16 million
in 2013, far more than the Eagles are likely willing to pay. Between his
inability to stay healthy and generally substandard performance, a 33-year-old
Vick simply is not worth that level of financial investment. He is unlikely to want
to renegotiate, too, whether out of personal pride or because he would prefer
to hand-pick his next situation.

It might be false to presume Vick would mesh with Kelly’s
philosophies anyway. That line of thinking seems largely based around the
notion this style of offense will require a mobile quarterback – not that injury-prone
Vick could withstand it anyway – but Kelly himself has nixed that idea. In
fact, Vick’s penchant for sacks and turning the ball over probably make him a
less-than-ideal candidate to run Kelly’s offense, or any offense for that
matter.

Vick doesn’t appear to have much working in his favor as far
as staying in Philadelphia is concerned. What about beyond the supposed
deadline though?

It’s possible. By NFL standards, $3 million isn’t a ton of
money, so the Eagles could conceivably pay that, and then… well that’s just it.
Think it over some more? As if the tape is going to show them something
different. Hold a quarterback competition? That sounds like a fine use of a $16
million player.

If the team is going to move on no matter what, why wait? After
all, the Eagles have never been an organization to pass up a savings.

The only other conceivable reason they would hold off is if
they were attempting to trade Vick, which will be easier said than done. The
Eagles are not the only front office that is going to have qualms about shelling
out that kind of money for a deteriorating quarterback who was vastly overrated
even at the pinnacle of his playing career. Unless Vick was willing to
renegotiate for another club, there is little chance of this happening.

And then what kind of return would the Birds get on Vick –
enough to merit playing this game of chicken? Is covering the $3
million roster bonus worth it to net a pair of mid-round draft picks that
wouldn’t earn that much combined over the entirety of their rookie deals?

It would be nice if they could get anything at all in return
for a quarterback that will probably move on and start someplace else for
another a season or two, but it may not be all that feasible. And maybe he can
play in the spread, maybe not, but that’s an awful lot of cash to commit to
maybes. The likeliest scenario is the Eagles let Vick go next week, because it might be the only scenario that makes sense.

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Nick Pivetta excited for big-league debut — even if rainout delays it a few days

Nick Pivetta excited for big-league debut — even if rainout delays it a few days

The Phillies' starting pitching rotation, for the time being, features four arms that were acquired in trades that have coincided with the team's rebuild, which started after the 2014 season.

Nick Pivetta will become the latest to join the group when he is officially activated. He was in the Phillies' clubhouse Tuesday afternoon and was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, but those plans changed when Tuesday night's game against the Miami Marlins was postponed because of rain.

No makeup date was announced.

The rainout means Pivetta's big-league debut will be pushed back. Vince Velasquez, Tuesday's scheduled starter, will pitch Wednesday night against the Marlins and Jeremy Hellickson will start the series finale Thursday. Jerad Eickhoff and Zach Eflin are likely to stay on turn and pitch Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles. That means Pivetta's debut will likely happen Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Not a bad venue for an unveiling. He does not have to be activated until that day. In the interim, the Phils are carrying an extra reliever in Mark Leiter Jr.

Even with the weather-related change in plans, Pivetta was thrilled to be in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

"I've achieved my goal of getting here eventually," the 24-year-old right-hander said. "I'm happy to be here. I want to get my feet on solid ground right now and just take it one step at a time.”

Pivetta is a Canadian from Victoria, British Columbia, about 100 miles northwest of Seattle. As a kid, he watched Toronto Blue Jays' games on television and idolized Roy Halladay. (see story).

Victoria must now be Phillies territory. Michael Saunders, the team's rightfielder, also hails from the town.

"You see it more and more, more Canadians getting into the game of baseball, so it’s always nice to see another one in the locker room," said Saunders, 30. "Clearly he’s pitched well enough to earn his way up here and I’m looking forward to seeing him play."

Pivetta is 6-5, 225 pounds. He was originally selected by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. The Phillies acquired him for Jonathan Papelbon and cash in July 2015.

Pivetta will take Aaron Nola's spot in the rotation. Nola is on the disabled list with tightness in his lower back. He could be back as soon as early next week.

Nola said he probably could have pushed himself and stayed in the rotation, but the team chose to be cautious.

"I don’t think it's any big thing," Nola said.

With Pivetta on board, the Phillies now have four pitchers in their rotation that came over in "rebuild" trades.

Eflin arrived in the December 2014 deal that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers.

Eickhoff came in the July 2015 deal that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers.

Velasquez came in the December 2015 trade that sent Ken Giles to the Astros.

Pivetta did not immediately pitch well upon joining the Phillies organization. He had a 7.31 ERA in seven starts for Double A Reading in the summer of 2015. In 28 1/3 innings, he struck out 25 and walked 19.

Pivetta was a different pitcher last season. He registered a 3.27 ERA in 148 2/3 innings between Double A and Triple A, struck out 138 and walked 51. That performance earned him a spot on the team's 40-man roster.

“In 2016, he showed us the potential to be a really good major-league pitcher,” said Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development. “He was a little excitable after the trade in 2015, but he came back calm and confident last year. His stuff is legit — 93 to 96 (mph) with life on the fastball, good breaking ball and good feel for the changeup.”

His control continued to improve this season as he got off to a 3-0 start at Triple A. He pitched 19 innings, gave up just two earned runs, walked just two and struck out 24.

"Just getting ahead with my fastball," said Pivetta, explaining the early-season success that put him in line for the promotion. "First-pitch strikes are big. Even if I get into that 0-1 count or that 1-1 count, getting back to that 1-2 count is big. So being able to even up those counts have been really big for me, as well, and being able to finish off with my off-speed later in the counts, too.”

Pivetta pitched for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic in March. He made one start and took a no-decision in the team's 4-1 loss to Columbia. Pivetta worked four innings and allowed one run.

“That helped me," Pivetta said. "It was awesome. It was like having playoff baseball in March."

It's not clear how long Pivetta will stay in the big-league rotation. But he has more than put himself on the map, and if he continues to pitch well, he'll make more starts with the big club this season.

“I did not expect to be here this early in the season," he said. "I am happy to be here right now. I'll see how long I stay and just have fun while I am here.”

Ron Jaworski: Carson Wentz shouldn't 'have any input' in Eagles' 2017 NFL draft

Ron Jaworski: Carson Wentz shouldn't 'have any input' in Eagles' 2017 NFL draft

Should the Eagles give Carson Wentz a say in who they take in the draft?

He is the future of the franchise after all.

"If there's any player on our roster that has insight into a guy in free agency or the draft, it's part of our information gathering," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said last Thursday.

So the Eagles will at least listen to Wentz — and others — about certain prospects. The second-year QB got a firsthand look at a few receiving prospects during offseason workouts. 

However, former Eagles quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski thinks it would be a "mistake" to give Wentz any input into the team's draft decision-making. 

"I don't think the quarterback should have any input in the draft," Jaworski said Tuesday. "Plain and simple. The quarterback should quarterback his football team. I know he'll be a teammate, but the Eagles — like every other team in this league — do extensive scouting. They know what they're doing, they'll select the player they believe is the best player."

Jaws would know -- he made that very mistake once.

"I had someone ask me a question back in 1978 or '79," Jaworski said. "They said, 'Hey Jaws, what do you think the Eagles need?' And I said we could probably improve our wide receiver position. 

"Oh, by the way, Harold Carmichael is one of our wide receivers, the next time I saw him he said, 'Hey, what are you talking about?' So it was a mistake, and I apologized to Harold and that was the last comment I ever made about the draft and my teammates. So I think players ought to shut up and let the front office make those decisions."

To be fair, Carmichael held a little more weight in his day than Nelson Agholor or Dorial Green-Beckham do now. 

Jaworski went on to tell a wild story of his own draft day in 1973 (watch video here), and also made the case for the Eagles to stock up on cornerbacks in the draft (watch video here).