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The clock is ticking on Michael Vick’s future with the Eagles.
A clause negotiated into the contract extension Vick signed two years ago enables the Eagles to release the high-profile quarterback at no cost within 72 hours of the end of the Super Bowl.
Vick, who just finished his fourth season with the Eagles, is slated to make nearly $16 million in 2013.
If they don’t release him within that three-day time frame, the Eagles are on the hook for a $3 million roster bonus, a stipulation that gives an appearance that the team must act swiftly.
But there’s a rather large caveat in the clause that suggests the Eagles will hardly be rushed into their decision.
As CSNPhilly.com reported near the end of the 2012 season, the $3 million roster bonus is owed only if the Eagles choose to retain Vick or if Vick is released and unable to land elsewhere in free agency.
If another team signs Vick and pays him less than $3 million, which is highly unlikely for a quarterback of his stature and experience, then the Eagles are required only to make up the difference.
So while the stopwatch officially started Sunday night night around 11 p.m., after the Ravens had finished off their 34-31 win over San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII, the urgency for the Eagles to decide Vick’s fate by Wednesday night isn’t as great as it seems.
Actually, the team might find it more sensible to hang onto Vick while new coach Chip Kelly continues to evaluate and assemble his roster and to gauge Vick’s value on the trade market.
Vick, who will be 33 next season, is coming off consecutive substandard seasons after going to the Pro Bowl in 2010 and leading the Eagles to the playoffs in his second year with the team.
He finished the 2012 season with his lowest completion percentage (58.1) and passer rating (78.1) in four seasons with former head coach Andy Reid. He went 3-6 before suffering a concussion that sidelined him for several weeks and led to rookie Nick Foles replacing him as the starter.
His contract calls for a $15.5 million base salary in 2013, which the Eagles are unlikely to pay and most likely would complicate trade discussions.
Since being hired Jan. 16, Kelly hasn’t given any indications of whether or not Vick fits into his plans. The first-time NFL coach’s hurry-up offensive attack at Oregon centered on a mobile, athletic quarterback, which would seemingly be a good fit for Vick, who isn’t the lethal scrambler he once was but is still faster and more dangerous in the open field than most NFL quarterbacks.
But Kelly has also said his quarterbacks are at fault whenever sacks occur and Vick absorbed 51 sacks over the past two seasons in 23 starts. Vick has also accounted for 33 turnovers over the past two years on 24 interceptions and nine lost fumbles.
Kelly recently said he and Vick met and spoke at the Novacare Complex just a few days after owner Jeffrey Lurie had hired Kelly to replaced the fired Reid, but Kelly didn’t drop any clues about the direction of the conversation or his overall quarterback situation.
Foles is under contract for three more years and Trent Edwards has another year left on his deal. Kelly is expected to reach out to Ravens practice squad quarterback Dennis Dixon, who ran Kelly’s offense at Oregon.
Vick has maintained a low profile since the end of the season, although he appeared in a Super Bowl commercial for a New Jersey insurance agency that jokingly suggested that Vick would be signing with the NFC East-rival Giants.
There was a report near the end of last season that Vick would refuse to restructure his contract to stay with the Eagles, but Vick told CSNPhilly.com after the season finale against the Giants that the report didn’t come from him and that he hadn’t made any decision regarding his contract.
After that game, a 42-7 loss, Vick seemed noncommittal about his future with the franchise.
“I just have to take time to think about everything that happened this season and reflect on it,” he said. “I don’t know right now. I just need to get some rest.”