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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Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

DETROIT -- Brandon Dubinsky scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game, 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Lukas Sedlak got his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Cam Atkinson contributed a short-handed goal in the first period for Columbus.

Dylan Larkin's power-play goal in the second was the only scoring of the night for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining (see full story). 

Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won three straight.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves. He entered with a league-best .946 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, whose four-game losing streak began with a 2-1 home overtime loss to the Wild last Sunday.

Staal scored on a backhand deke before Nugent-Hopkins fired wide in the sixth round (see full story). 

Raanta, Rangers beat Blackhawks, 1-0, in overtime
CHICAGO -- Nick Holden scored 55 seconds into overtime, Antti Raanta made 26 saves against his former team and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Friday night.

Derek Stepan passed from the boards to a streaking Holden in the middle of the ice, and he beat Scott Darling on the stick side for his fourth goal of the season.

Darling was going for his second straight shutout while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford but had to settle for another solid performance.

Raanta, who made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2013 and played for the Blackhawks for two seasons before he was traded to New York, improved to 15-0-3 in 20 career appearances at the United Center.

The 27-year-old Raanta had 17 saves in Thursday's 2-1 victory at Winnipeg, and coach Alain Vigneault opted to give him a second straight start over Henrik Lundqvist because of his recent play and his success in Chicago (see full story).

Oshie, Johansson, Grubauer lift Caps over Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Jakub Vrana and John Carlson also scored, helping Washington beat Buffalo for the third time in 15 days.

Kyle Okposo scored and Robin Lehner made 25 saves for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost three of their last four.

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the second period when he lifted a shot from the right edge of the crease past Lehner. Jay Beagle drew two defenders into the corner and sent the puck back to a wide open Oshie for his ninth goal of the season (see full story).