Vick Gets What He Deserves

Vick Gets What He Deserves

Six years, $100 million, $36 guaranteed.

HUGE.

Fair.

There are no shortage of people out there today to take their shot at Michael Vick's brand new mega-deal, "too much" and "too long" being the general themes. "Big risks" and "old temptations" aside, the contract is actually just right.

The concerns, for the most part, are valid. Vick the player and Vick the person are both something of an enigma. We don't know if he can play under control enough to stay healthy and lead the Eagles to a championship, and we can only speculate what goes on in the mind of one of the most polarizing celebrities on earth.

There is one easy truth to understand though, and that is Vick is Philadelphia's franchise quarterback. Whether it's money, or years, or the lack of an escape plan you are having trouble swallowing, realize that a deal of this magnitude was inevitable from the moment they chose Vick over Kevin Kolb.

Money
There is positively no point debating the money. Vick deserves every penny he got, including the hefty guarantee.

According to Roob's breakdown, the yearly average makes Vick the third highest highest paid quarterback in the NFL, behind Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Sounds about right for the runner-up for league MVP. It's also roughly what he would have earned in 2011 under the franchise tag.

More to the point, this is the way business goes in professional sports. As long as revenues continue rising, so too will the money paid out. The next guy is going to get more cash, and a bigger guarantee, then the next guy, and so on until the bubble bursts.

And when you weigh in the bargain price the Eagles had Vick at last season--an absolute steal at $5 million--he was in line for a payday that reflected how he thoroughly outperformed his old contract.

Is it ideal? Of course not, but I doubt the Colts think what they are paying Peyton is ideal either.

[See Also: How Much of Vick's Cash Will He Actually Get to Keep?]

Years
What everybody seems to be hung up on are the six years, which frankly surprises me. Did the world collectively forget the duration of NFL contracts are not guaranteed?

Not unlike the vast sums of money they are paying him, the Eagles were not going to get away with another short term contract. Vick has an agent and plenty of leverage. Just because there are obvious pitfalls at his age, and especially due to his style of play, does not mean he was going to settle for anything less than the standard for a franchise quarterback.

If that were the case, everybody in the NFL would be playing on one-year deals, since any of their careers could be over today.

Plus, we have yet to see how the contract is structured. Considering the way the Eagles ordinarily do business, it would be fair to assume they have some protection on the back end. They have been expert at the negotiation table for over a decade, and always wind up owning the upper hand in the final years of virtually every deal.

There is one risk though, and it has little to do with Vick being 31, or how injury prone he is. The real issue is Vick still has not proven he is the guy that can finally push this franchise over the top. There are faults in his game. If he can correct them, he could be unstoppable. If he never takes the next step, it could be a long time before Philly has a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Conduct
I feel like this is barely worth touching on, but it is out there, so we will address it.

People act as though Vick might turn around and resume slaughtering dogs now that he is set. I find that line of thinking quite bizarre.

I don't know Mike Vick. I don't pretend to know whether his efforts to change are sincere or not. I am also aware his troubled past goes beyond the dog fighting operation. At that stage of his life, he had surrounded himself with many characters of ill repute, and the result was scandal seemed to follow Vick wherever he went.

It was only last summer when an incident ended with a shooting at his birthday party.

My opinion is that he would have to be pretty stupid to get involved in the type of situation that would jeopardize his entire career, the type that would be handled under a "conduct clause." It makes zero sense. You may not like or trust the guy, but after everything he has been through... really?

Value
Here is the point I think everybody is missing: Michael Vick isn't just a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles--he is a brand.

When Vick joined the team in August of '09, fans were buying number seven merchandise the very next day. When he became the starting quarterback last September, legions of Vick backers embraced rooting for the Birds. Today, you can hardly tune in to ESPN without seeing Vick's image plastered on your computer monitor or television set.

Few players in professional sports are more instantly recognizable; even fewer, if any, are more popular. He gives the Eagles franchise unprecedented reach and visibility on a national scale, precisely the sort every organization desperately craves.

Translation: $$$.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if Vick is overpaid (he isn't) or if his contract is too long (it's not). The simple fact is his presence gives the organization the ability to print money, and while I don't agree with the notion that money is the only thing Jeffrey Lurie really cares about, it certainly does not hurt.

Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

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Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

Temple (9-3) at No. 19 Navy (9-2)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Saturday, noon, ABC

It would have been hard to picture Temple in the American Athletic Conference championship game after the Owls’ first game of the season, a 28-13 loss to Army.

But that’s exactly where they are three months later, as Temple will take on No. 19 Navy in the conference championship game Saturday.

The Owls and Midshipmen have both been handling opponents as of late. Temple’s won its last four games by at least three touchdowns, while Navy has outscored opponents 141-62 in its past two games.

Let’s take a look at how one of the country’s top offenses and one of the country’s top defenses match up.

Scouting Temple
The Owls' defense seems to get better every week. Temple ranks No. 3 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense and No. 10 in scoring defense. The only two teams that rank higher than the Owls in both categories are Alabama and Michigan.

Teams haven’t scored more than 13 points against the Owls in their last four games, and Temple is outscoring opponents 123-23 during that stretch.

Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Haason Reddick was named a first team all-conference selection earlier this week. He leads the FBS in tackles for loss. Redshirt-senior Praise Martin-Oguike is coming off one of his best games of the season last week against East Carolina, in which he had two sacks, including a forced fumble. He has seven sacks this season.

On offense, Temple’s goal this week will be to sustain drives and keep Navy’s offense off the field. The Owls are currently No. 5 in the FBS in time of possession, holding the ball for more than 34 minutes per game.

Earlier in the week, coach Matt Rhule said senior quarterback Phillip Walker was questionable for Saturday’s game. Walker will likely play, but the Owls might be without one of their top offensive weapons.

Rhule said sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead is doubtful. Armstead has 842 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

Scouting Navy
The Midshipmen have one of the simplest — yet at that same time one of the best — offenses in the country. Navy ranks No. 2 in rushing yards at 342 yards per game.

Quarterback Will Worth runs the triple option for Navy. He has 2,544 total yards of offense and 33 total touchdowns. He’s passed for 1,363 yards and rushed for 1,181 more.  Worth has a touchdown in 11 straight games.

Worth has attempted 258 rushes compared to 115 passing attempts. Four other Navy players have at least 40 rushing attempts this season.

Senior wide receiver Jamir Tillman is the Midshipmen’s best receiving threat. The 6-foot-4 wideout has 32 catches for 533 yards and two touchdowns.

Navy’s defense hasn’t been quite as elite as its offense. The Midshipmen have allowed 30 or more points in four of their last five games.

The Midshipmen are allowing 265 passing yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 313 yards and three touchdowns in their last three contests.

Storyline to watch: Can Temple find a way to stop the triple option?
The last time these two teams played was in 2014, when Navy ran for 487 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-24 win against the Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Temple’s most recent matchup against the triple option was when it lost to Army in its season opener. The Black Knights ran for 329 yards and four touchdowns. With only a week to prepare, Temple will have to find a way to cure its option woes if it wants a chance to win Saturday.

What’s at stake?
The Owls have only won one other conference championship in program history, when they won the Mid-Atlantic Conference in 1967. A win would also give Temple its third 10-win season in program history. If Western Michigan loses Friday night, Temple also puts itself in contention for a spot in the Cotton Bowl with a win.

Prediction
Temple has to figure out this option thing at some point, right? The Owls’ ability to convert on third down and sustain long drives will help slow Navy's offense. This one will most likely come down to who has the ball last, but the Owls are a little bit more well-rounded, so they get the edge. Temple 31, Navy 28