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]
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Best of NBA: Russell Westbrook posts 5th straight triple-double in Thunder's win over Pelicans

Best of NBA: Russell Westbrook posts 5th straight triple-double in Thunder's win over Pelicans

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook became the first player with five consecutive triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 101-92 on Sunday night.

Westbrook finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. The Thunder have won all five games during Westbrook's triple-double stretch. It was Westbrook's 10th triple-double of the season and the 47th of his career.

Enes Kanter had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Victor Oladipo added 15 points for the Thunder.

Anthony Davis, the NBA's leading scorer, had 37 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans. Buddy Hield, who led nearby Oklahoma to the Final Four last season, scored 16 points in his first game back in the state (see full recap).

Rose, Anthony help Knicks hold off Kings
NEW YORK -- Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony each scored 20 points and the New York Knicks held off the Sacramento Kings 106-98 on Sunday night for their eighth win in 11 games.

The Knicks took a 21-point lead in the first half, gave up 18 consecutive points in the third quarter but outplayed the Kings down the stretch to win their third straight overall and improve to 9-3 at home.

Brandon Jennings added 19 points for New York and Kristaps Porzingis finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

DeMarcus Cousins had 36 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, but shot just 9 for 30 and looked fatigued while struggling late while playing the entire second half (see full recap).

Ibaka's big night leads Magic past Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Serge Ibaka scored 21 points and blocked four shots, helping the Orlando Magic beat the Detroit Pistons 98-92 on Sunday night.

Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Magic.

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson made his season debut after missing Detroit's first 21 games with knee tendinitis. He had 18 points in 23 minutes. Marcus Morris led Detroit with 21 points.

Orlando won for the third time in four games while Detroit had its three-game winning streak snapped.

On Jackson's first possession, the Pistons went to their bread-and-butter play -- he and Andre Drummond running a high pick and roll. Jackson came off the screen and hit a 3-pointer, bringing a cheer from the small crowd. Jackson played the first 5:50 of the quarter as Detroit built a 16-10 lead (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens avoid winless California trip with SO win over Kings

Best of NHL: Canadiens avoid winless California trip with SO win over Kings

LOS ANGELES -- Paul Byron scored the clinching goal in the fourth round of the shootout, and the Montreal Canadiens avoided a winless swing through California with a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.

Max Pacioretty had two goals and an assist for the Canadiens, who won for just the second time in seven road games. Montreal had only one win in its previous 11 games in California before scoring three times in the four-round shootout.

Alexander Radulov and Andrew Shaw also scored and Carey Price made 27 saves for the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens.

Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty had a goal and an assist apiece for the Kings, who lost for only the second time in eight games. Peter Budaj stopped 26 shots (see full recap).

DeKeyser gives Red Wings OT win over Isles
NEW YORK -- Danny DeKeyser scored 1:02 into overtime to give Detroit a victory over New York.

Mike Green scored twice and Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and assist for Detroit, which improved to 4-1-2 in its last seven games. Peter Mrazek stopped 32 shots to improve to 3-0-2 in his past five starts.

Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk and Josh Bailey scored for New York, which had won a season-high three straight. Jaroslav Halak finished with 30 saves.

Detroit's Frans Nielsen had an assist while facing his former team for the first time since leaving the Islanders for a six-year, $31.5 million deal with the Red Wings last summer. The 32-year-old Danish center was selected by the Islanders in the third round of the 2002 draft and had 119 goals and 230 assists over 10 seasons in New York (see full recap).

Late goal lifts Jets over Blackhawks
CHICAGO -- Andrew Copp scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:45 left, Bryan Little got his third goal in three games and Winnipeg edged Chicago.

Copp beat Scott Darling on the stick side with a shot from the right circle that slipped just inside the left post.

Chicago's Artemi Panarin scored with 6:54 remaining to tie it at 1, moments after Copp hit the post, to spoil Connor Hellebuyck's bid for a second shutout against Chicago in less than a month. Panarin completed a give-and-go with Patrick Kane, beating Hellebuyck to the glove side.

Hellebuyck finished with 25 saves and outdueled Darling, who started his second straight game for the Blackhawks in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford. Darling made 30 saves, including three on breakaways.

Little's power-play goal with 43.4 seconds left in the second period was his fourth point in four games since missing 23 with a lower-body injury (see full recap)