Is Vick's Contract One of the Worst in the NFL?

Is Vick's Contract One of the Worst in the NFL?

ESPN's John Clayton ranked the 10 worst contracts in the NFL on Thursday, and Michael Vick's (supposed) six-year deal worth $100 million made the list. Actually, it was second.

Here's what Clayton had to say:

2. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (six years, $100 million): The Eagles are coming off a bye week in which Andy Reid fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, and he is evaluating every position. Vick is the quarterback for now, but after the so-called "Dream Team" didn't make the playoffs last season, the 3-3 start has everything under review. Reid could be in trouble if the Eagles don't make the playoffs, and that would affect Vick. He has $47.5 million coming to him in 2013-15, but the Eagles might try to get out of the deal if Reid is gone.

Clayton is certainly spot on in his assessment that everything is about to come under review, so at face value, Vick's enormous contract does look like a mistake. It's not really so simple as that though.

For one thing, the fact that we even still refer to this contract as six years, $100 million is ludicrous. As Clayton appears to be aware, the final year (2016) and change ($20 million) already voided. In fact, they voided when Vick played in 35% of the team's offensive snaps in 2011 -- the first year of the contract -- and would have voided had he done that it any season over the life of the contract.

Six years, $100 million was a farce. It's five years at $80.

Next, Clayton opined the Eagles might "try" to get out of the contract in the near future. As has been pointed out before, and increasingly more of late, the team can very easily get out from under Vick's contract as early as next season. Only $3 mil of next year's base salary is guaranteed, and according to EaglesCap.com, the total cap hit to cut Vick would be a little more than $7 mil. It gets even easier move on in years four and five.

$7 million is a tough pill to swallow, but not prohibitively so. It's an amount that will at least make the front office think twice about outright dumping Vick, which it's a little premature to assume the Eagles will take that route anyway.

Which brings us to the final aspect of Vick's deal: the cold, hard cash. Is he overpaid based on his performance this season and last? You can very easily make that case -- his average salary of $16 million per year is third behind only Drew Brees ($20) and Peyton Manning ($19.2).

Still, the reality is starting quarterbacks make a lot of money in the NFL, which Clayton notes himself when ripping Carson Palmer's deal. Kevin Kolb averages $10.5M, based on the assumption he would be a starter. Kansas City's Matt Cassel -- who just lost his job to Brady Quinn or would otherwise give Vick some competition for the coveted turnover record -- averages $10.5M from a long-term deal signed back in '09. The Jets recently extended Mark Sanchez at $11.6 per for who knows what reason, the Raiders handed Palmer $10.7 to come out of retirement. (Numbers courtesy of spotrac.)

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean the Eagles made the right call when they gave Vick all that money. In fact, all four of those players happen to appear on Clayton's list. That said, seeing as the organization built so many outs into the contract, it's hard to understand where Clayton was coming from here. They're not locked down long-term, and they still have a quarterback who gives them a chance to win every week -- and I wouldn't necessarily say the same for those other guys. It seems with so many teams  stuck paying for nothing, it's safe to say Vick's placement was an exaggeration to say the least.

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty had four goals, Brian Flynn scored twice during a six-goal first period and the Montreal Canadiens routed the Colorado Avalanche 10-1 on Saturday night.

Flynn, Pacioretty and Artturi Lehkonen each scored against Calvin Pickard in the opening 7:12, and then Pacioretty, Paul Byron and Flynn each had a goal among the first four shots on Semyon Varlamov.

Pacioretty completed his hat trick in the second period and added another in the third to give the captain seven goals in his last four games.

Alexander Radulov and Jeff Petry also scored for Montreal, which has shown no drop-off without injured scoring leader and first-line center Alex Galchenyuk. Montreal outshot the Avs 36-16 (see full recap).

Malkin, Crosby lead Penguins past Lightning 4-3
TAMPA, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby had another eventful night.

The Penguins star returned after passing concussion protocol following a first-period hit to get his 20th goal, and that stoked Pittsburgh's rally for its latest victory.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored their second goals on third-period power plays, helping the Penguins come back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday.

Crosby was shaken up by Luke Witkowski's check with eight minutes to go in the first but returned for the start of the second period (see full recap).

Late barrage helps Blue Jackets beat Islanders 6-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 6-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

Josh Anderson, Brandon Saad and Lukas Sedlak also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.

Josh Bailey and John Tavares scored for New York, which had earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves until he was pulled after the Blue Jackets scored four consecutive goals in the third period.

Anderson put Columbus ahead 3-2 at 2:19 when he picked off a defensive pass and banged it in from the slot seconds after coming onto the ice for his shift (see full recap).

Matthews, Hyman score in 2nd, Maple Leafs beat Bruins 4-1
BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs found a way to overcome a poor opening period.

Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, Frederik Andersen made 32 saves and the Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday night.

"The last three games the first period kind of did us in," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't start on time. We were able to hold on. It still wasn't the first period we wanted, but we didn't give up the goals and we were able to execute a little bit."

After managing only two shots on goal in the first, Toronto was happy to get to the dressing room with the game scoreless (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol and Tony Allen scored 19 points each and the Memphis Grizzlies rolled over the Golden State Warriors 110-89 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 30 points in the second half - the biggest advantage by any Warriors opponent this season. Seven Memphis players finished in double figures.

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 21 points, while Stephen Curry added 17 points and Ian Clark finished with 10 points. Curry and backcourt starter Klay Thompson (eight points) were a combined 8 of 28 from the field, including 3 of 14 outside the arc.

Memphis built a double-digit lead early, led 61-38 at halftime and kept building in the third quarter (see full recap).

Butler, Wade lead Bulls to 105-100 win over Heat
CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade added 28 against his former team and the Chicago Bulls held off the struggling Miami Heat 105-100 on Saturday night.

Butler scored Chicago's final 10 points to help the Bulls come out on top after Miami pulled within one.

Wade keyed a big third-quarter run in his second game against the Heat, and the Bulls hung on after handing San Antonio its first road loss two nights earlier.

Goran Dragic led Miami with 21 points and 11 assists. An energetic Hassan Whiteside added 20 points after being benched for part of Friday's blowout loss in Cleveland. Tyler Johnson scored 15, but the Heat dropped their fifth straight (see full recap).

LeBron scores 44, reaches assist mark as Cavs down Hornets
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 17 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and reached another career milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 116-105 over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

James did it all, adding 10 assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. He took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 straight during one stretch to help the Cavs hold on.

As the final seconds ticked off, James stood at midcourt and spun the ball on his index finger as the crowd roared.

James, who moved into ninth place on the career scoring list Friday, recorded his 7,000th assist in the first half, becoming the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach the plateau. James is the only player with 27,000 points and 7,000 assists (see full recap).

George has 37 points to lead Pacers over Blazers 118-111
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George scored a season-high 37 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-111 on Saturday night.

George made five 3-pointers, and Thaddeus Young hit six 3s while getting 24 points and nine rebounds. Myles Turner added 14 points for the Pacers, who had lost five straight regular season games to Portland.

C.J. McCollum made a career-high seven 3-pointers and had a season-best 34 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard had 33 points behind five 3s.

George scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. He was fouled on the go-ahead basket with 4:36 remaining and completed the three-point play to give the Pacers a 108-105 lead (see full recap).