Tag, That's It: Vick Signs, but Akers Unhappy

Tag, That's It: Vick Signs, but Akers Unhappy

Big NFL news today that will have a major impact on reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. The Players Association won a key battle last night when a judge ruled the league can't collect money from their enormous television contracts during a lockout. We'll look at the decision and what it means in greater detail a little later, but let's just say the players gained some leverage.

That apparently did not stop Mike Vick from signing his franchise tender. The Eagles' quarterback reportedly put his mark on a one-year contract today worth an estimated $16 million, ensuring he'll be at the helm whenever the 2011 season begins.

David Akers, on the other hand, will not be inking any binding documents in the immediate future, per Jeff McLane. The club's most tenured player is still disappointed by the transition designation, a qualifying one-year offer worth about $2.8 mil. Are the Birds doing Akers dirty, or should he take what he can get?

The transition tag works a bit different from the franchise tag. Teams often won't negotiate with a franchise player due to the high price of signing, a first- and a third-round pick. In Vick's and other "exclusive rights" cases, teams simply were not allowed not make an offer.

There are no such restrictions on a transition player. Any team in the league can make Akers an offer, but the Eagles then have seven days to match.

That really doesn't seem so bad on the surface. However, some front offices won't even bother looking at Akers once free agency begins, anticipating the Eagles would likely match any reasonable offer. That limits his ability to get the best possible deal. In the event that it prevents any team at all from jumping into the fray, he'll be stuck working on a one-year deal. Sure, it's good money, but time and time again we say it: players want the security of a multi-year deal.

Of course, it makes sense for Akers to stand pat before testing the free agent waters. It's questionable whether any organization would be willing to make the kind of offer necessary to pry a transition status kicker away. It's not impossible though. A contending franchise with a kicking game that "left something to be desired" last season might be willing to break the bank on a two- or three-year deal. Maybe, maybe not.

From an organizational standpoint, it appears the Eagles could be setting up for life without Akers. At 36-years-old, his days as an elite kicker are coming to an end, and their willingness to only give one-year may be a sign the organization will soon move in another direction entirely. Or, perhaps it's just part of their stance on not doing business during an uncertain labor period, and a long term cotnract could still be on the table once that gets resolved.

One thing that remains clear is David Akers isn't harboring any ill-will over his supposed run-in with Andy Reid's bus, at least not out in the open. His agent reiterated Akers wants to stay in Philadelphia, but he is simply seeking a multi-year deal, one that might endure for the remainder of his career. Is that too much to ask, or are the Eagles taking the right approach, which is business as usual?

But hey, Mike Vick.

>> Eagles sign Vick to one-year deal [CSN]
>> Akers won't sign transition tender [Birds' Eye View]
AP Photo

Instant Replay: Sixers 113, Bucks 104

Instant Replay: Sixers 113, Bucks 104

BOX SCORE 

The tone was set in the opening minutes of the third quarter. 

The Sixers quickly made up a halftime deficit and rolled from there, outscoring the Bucks, 67-50, in the second half for a 113-104 victory over Milwaukee on Monday.

The Sixers have now won four of their last five games with their only loss in the stretch coming the game Joel Embiid sat out. 

Milwaukee used a 19-4 run to take a 54-44 lead, but the Sixers scored the final basket of the first half and the first eight points of the third quarter to tie the game. 

Embiid scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 22 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high tying five blocked shots.

Inside the box score
• The Sixers scored 18 of their 24 first-quarter points from the 3-point line, connecting on 6 of 13 attempts from beyond the arc. Philadelphia hit on 14 of 37 three-point attempts, while Milwaukee was just 5 for 14. 

• Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 21 points in the first half, but battled foul trouble after the break and finished with 23 points for the game. He picked up his fourth foul with 6:04 left in the third quarter and was whistled for his fifth foul just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter. 

• Eight Sixers scored in double figures, led by Embiid with 22. Dario Saric added 17, Ersan Ilyasova scored 12, Gerald Henderson and Robert Covington had 11 and Sergio Rodriguez, Jahlil Okafor and Chasson Randle each added 10. 

McConnell MRI negative
The Sixers will be without their starting point guard for the time being, as T.J. McConnell left the team to return to Philadelphia to receive treatment for a right wrist strain and did not play against the Bucks (see story).
 
An MRI taken on McConnell’s right wrist came back negative, according to Sixers coach Brett Brown.
 
“He has a strain,” Brown said. “There’s no structural damage. In relation to what that means with regards to his return to play, I don’t know that yet.”

Sergio Rodriguez started in McConnell’s place and scored 10 points with seven rebounds and six assists. 

Monster jam
Embiid threw down a thunderous dunk to give the Sixers a 77-76 lead with 1:00 left in the third quarter. He then forced a turnover on the other end and later blocked a shot attempt by Matthew Dellavedova at the third-quarter buzzer. 

Noel sits
Sixers center Nerlens Noel was a late scratch from Monday’s game due to a sprained left ankle. 

Up Next
The Sixers will host Toronto (27-13) on Wednesday and Portland (18-25) on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center before traveling to Atlanta to face the Hawks (24-17) on Saturday. 

MRI on T.J. McConnell's wrist comes back negative; Nerlens Noel has ankle sprain

MRI on T.J. McConnell's wrist comes back negative; Nerlens Noel has ankle sprain

The Sixers will be without their starting point guard for the time being, as T.J. McConnell has left the team to return to Philadelphia to receive treatment for a right wrist strain and will miss Monday's game vs. the Bucks in Milwaukee.
 
An MRI taken on McConnell’s right wrist came back negative, according to Sixers coach Brett Brown.
 
“He has a strain,” Brown said. “There’s no structural damage. In relation to what that means with regards to his return to play, I don’t know that yet.”
 
McConnell is averaging 4.8 points and 5.4 assists in 38 games. He has started Philadelphia’s last seven games, a stretch during which the Sixers have gone 5-2.

With McConnell out, Sergio Rodriguez will start at point guard Monday against Milwaukee.

Rodriguez started 29 of the first 30 games he played this season, his first in the NBA since 2009-10. The 30-year-old is more of an offensive threat than the defensive-minded McConnell, averaging 8.8 points and 5.8 assists.  

“You immediately go to losing that defensive energy T.J. is known for,” Brown said. “Sergio is a more gifted scorer. T.J. is a more gifted defender. To have Nerlens (Noel) and Joel (Embiid) behind the scenes, we can make up some ground with Sergio.
 
“People understand Sergio’s pedigree. He’s a 30-year-old legend in Europe. He has a wealth of experience. He’s a medalist and an MVP of the Euro league. He also was our starting point guard for a while. We’re happy to give him back that responsibility.”

No Noel
In addition to McConnell, the Sixers on Monday will also be without the services of Nerlens Noel, who is dealing with a left ankle sprain. Noel came down with a season-high 12 rebounds in Saturday's loss to the Wizards.

Still restricted
Sixers center Joel Embiid will still be on a 28-minute restriction Monday against the Bucks.

Embiid sat out Saturday’s 109-93 loss to Washington after playing 28 minutes in a 102-93 win over Charlotte on Friday. He has reached 30 minutes just once in his 27 games this season.