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.

Despite rocky offseason, Eagles QBs have "a really good relationship"

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Despite rocky offseason, Eagles QBs have "a really good relationship"

Sam Bradford says Carson Wentz is a great kid. Carson Wentz says his relationship with Sam Bradford is special.

So much for them hating each other.

Bradford and Wentz both spoke glowingly of each other Tuesday after an OTA practice at the NovaCare Complex.

And both spoke equally highly of Chase Daniel, the Eagles’ other quarterback.

Turns out they all like each other.

Boring? Yeah. Drama? No. But they all say that’s the reality.

“They’re great dudes,” Bradford said. “We have a really good room. Having Chase in the room for me and Carson has been great because he’s been in the system for what, three? This is his fourth year in the system? So he understands some of the smaller details.

“Like when we watch tape, he’s able to point out, ‘Hey, this play looks like this against this coverage,’ or, ‘You can short-cut this read and (throw) here a little quicker against this coverage.’ So I think having him in the room with me and Carson has been really good.

“Carson, he’s been great. He’s a great kid, he’s really talented. It’s been fun working with him, trying to help him, trying to just share bits of information that I’ve picked up.”

It was the Eagles’ decision to trade up to No. 2 in the draft and take Wentz that led Bradford to leave voluntary practices for two weeks and demand a trade.

It wasn’t until he returned earlier this month that he even met Wentz, the former North Dakota State star.

But Wentz said there’s been no tension between the two. The opposite has been the case.

“It’s been great working with Sam, working with Chase,” Wentz said. “We’ve got an awesome quarterback room. A lot of really good discussions about the play book, about life. It’s been great.

“And then on the practice field, it’s been great for me. We all have a really good relationship. Nothing but great things to say about those guys.”

Head coach Doug Pederson has maintained that Bradford is the starter going into the regular season. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said there’s open competition.

Whatever happens in September, it’s only a matter of time until this is Wentz’s team.

But Daniel said so far everybody is handling a tricky situation just fine.

“You know what, business is business,” Daniel said Tuesday. “Like I’ve said before, everyone handles (those situations) a little bit differently. For me, there’s no awkwardness. I know I’ve talked to Sam, there’s no (awkwardness).

“It’s you check your ego at the door, it’s time to go to work. Let’s go to work.”

If there are any hard feelings, these three quarterbacks are certainly hiding them very well.

“The relationship we have with us three is huge,” Wentz said. “We’re not out there to get each other, we’re out there to make the team better. (That) not only uplifts the team but makes us individually better.

“Being able to work together and not have to worry and stress out about the other stuff. At the end of the day makes the team better.”

Bradford is the incumbent starter. Daniel is the most experienced in Pederson’s offense. Wentz is the hot-shot rookie.

It’s a better story if they hate each other. But so far at least, they seem to be getting along just great.

“For me and the rest of the quarterbacks, we view every day as an opportunity to get better,” Wentz said.

“We have a little friendly competition among ourselves to make us better. If we’re all pushing each other, working together, it only makes the team better, and I think that’s something we have going on here that’s really special.”

President Obama praises Villanova at the renamed 'Blue and White House'

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AP Photo

President Obama praises Villanova at the renamed 'Blue and White House'

Villanova’s memorable victory tour continued Tuesday as noted basketball fan and President of the United States Barack Obama welcomed the Wildcats to the White House -- or, as he called it, “the Blue and White House today.” 

You should definitely watch the whole video but here are some highlights from the very cool ceremony: 

  • Obama said that Vice President Joe Biden, whose wife Jill Biden got a Master’s degree from Villanova, picked the Wildcats to win it all. “That’s the type of wise counsel you’re looking for in a vice president. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow the counsel so my bracket was busted,” said Obama, who picked Kansas to win it all and didn’t even have ’Nova in the Final Four.
  • Obama called Jay Wright the “George Clooney of coaches” and “the best dressed man in college basketball.” We’ve reached out to George Clooney’s reps for comment (no we haven’t).
  • He pointed out that leading scorer Josh Hart went to the same high school -- Sidwell Friends -- as his daughter Malia, who will graduate from there next week. “It’s good to see a Sidwell kid do well.”
  • It was fun to hear the president call Daniel Ochefu and Kris Jenkins by their nicknames -- “The Chef” and “Big Smooth,” respectively.
  • He purposefully sped through Ryan Arcidiacono’s name “in case I didn’t say it right” -- and he didn’t. “I’m just gonna call him Arch,” Obama said, learning an important lesson for Villanova fans, college basketball writers and world leaders everywhere.
  • Was that a Charles Barkley weight joke? After comparing Kris Jenkins’ famous game-winner to Christian Laettner’s shot vs. Kentucky in 1992 and N.C. State’s buzzer-beater in the 1983 title game, Obama said “Charles Barkley apparently jumped out of his seat, which he doesn’t do very often these days.”
  • He praised Villanova’s off-court achievements, including the fact that they ranked in the top 10 percent nationally in grades and all five seniors graduated (continuing a trend of every four-year Villanova player graduating since the 1970s). And he discussed how Ochefu and Arcidiacono surprised a young ’Nova fan with cancer by hiding in his playhouse -- “which seems a little scary but their hearts were in the right place.”
  • He didn’t hold back about the epic ending to the NCAA tourney, calling it “as memorable of a championship game as I can remember” and “maybe the best title game of all time,” before adding that “just the last few seconds could be a documentary.” 

After Obama’s remarks -- good job, speechwriters! -- Wright took his turn at the podium to present the President with a Villanova jersey from their game at Pearl Harbor last December and to thank him for his leadership.

“Nothing is as big as this,” Wright said. “This is big time. This is a great day for Villanova University.”

Well said, Coach Clooney.

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Bryce Harper (knee) sits for Nats

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Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Bryce Harper (knee) sits for Nats

Bryce Harper is out of the Nationals' lineup Tuesday night after being hit in the knee by a Jeremy Hellickson pitch on Memorial Day.

Big break for the Phils considering Harper has hit .346 against them with three doubles, 11 home runs, 23 RBIs and 21 walks in his last 104 plate appearances against them.

It's an equally big break for Aaron Nola, against whom Harper is 6 for 10 with two homers (see game notes).

For the Phillies, Ryan Howard gets the start at first base against another right-hander, Washington's Joe Ross. Phillies fans are clamoring for more playing time for Tommy Joseph, but starting Howard against Ross does make some sense given how much better lefties have been against him (.295 BA) than righties (.209). Ross throws a ton of sinkers and sliders, which make it tough on same-handed hitters.

1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Cameron Rupp, C
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Tyler Goeddel, LF
7. David Lough, RF
8. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
9. Aaron Nola, P

And for the Nationals:

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Jayson Werth, RF
3. Daniel Murphy, 2B
4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
5. Clint Robinson, LF
6. Anthony Rendon, 3B
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Espinosa, SS
9. Joe Ross, P