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“Everything don’t last forever,” Michael Vick said. “For none of us.”
On the day the Eagles packed up their gear and headed out into the offseason, Vick left that line behind for us to examine. It was part wisdom, part poetry, part frustration. It was not an easy season for the quarterback or the team. The wound, so raw and painful for so many months, was still open and oozing at the time. His words reflected that. The reply ached out loud.
Vick was right. Nothing is for sure. Nothing is for certain. Nothing lasts forever. (A different kind of Outkast said that once, too.)
Even so, the Eagles and Vick should make it last just a little while longer. Vick should be the starting quarterback next season.
It’s not as easy as all that. It’s not so simple as asking him if he wants to stick around and then everyone hugging it out and making it so.
The Super Bowl is just days away. The Eagles have a three-day window after the Super Bowl to release him at no cost (except a $4.2 million cap hit). If they release him after that, they could owe him up to $3 million; the amount depends on if he signs with another team and the value of the contract.
Either way, keeping Vick would necessitate a contract renegotiation. Vick is owed about $16 million next year. It’s impossible to imagine paying a soon-to-be 33-year-old with an extensive injury history that much money. No sober person would consider it. Even Cat Marnell wouldn’t consider it.
Both sides would have to come to some mutually agreeable (and much lower) number if Vick is going to be in Philly next season. They should do that. The Eagles and Vick should find that number. It’s in both of their best interests.
If the Eagles still have designs on winning sooner rather than later – the way Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman talked after saying goodbye to Andy Reid makes it sound as though they do – then Vick remains their best option. Even if his skills have eroded (and they have), he still has a monster arm and he’s still faster on his worst day than Nick Foles is on his best. (That touchdown run against the Bucs was fantastic, if only because Foles had the courtesy to do it in super slow-motion so you didn’t have to trouble your DVR.)
“The perception is we run our quarterback all the time and this is what we do,” Chip Kelly said after becoming the new head coach. “The reality is that’s not the case. One of the best qualities in a quarterback is durability and a lot of that has to do with play-calling. Our quarterback is not going to get the direct snap like Dick Kazmaier did at Princeton in the single wing and have him run it 25 times, I can tell you that. Part of what we do offensively has always been understanding what personnel is and then how do we maximize that, and what are their best traits. If you’re going to ask someone to do something that they’re not capable of doing then obviously that’s a recipe for disaster. ... Our offense is always going to be tailored to who’s playing.”
Even better. No one thinks Vick should run 25 times a game. Or 15 times a game. Or even 10 times. But if Kelly hopes to tailor the offense around the best personnel, wouldn’t it be interesting and entertaining to see what he might dream up with Vick under center? And if you’re Vick, wouldn’t you be intrigued by the possibilities given the fact that the Eagles still have some talented skill players on offense?
That doesn’t mean the Eagles would be precluded from taking a quarterback at some point in the upcoming draft if one they coveted fell to them. That option would remain. But, remember, this isn’t last year. This quarterback draft class isn’t as highly regarded. There aren’t any Andrew Lucks or Robert Griffin IIIs or Russell Wilsons this time around. It’s unlikely that the Eagles would grab someone who would play right away.
Unless the Eagles bring in someone new -- like Ravens practice squad quarterback Dennis Dixon, who has a history with Kelly (see story) -- Foles would probably have the best odds to start next year, at least in theory. That prospect is about as exciting as one of Foles’ soporific interviews.
If they can renegotiate his contract – admittedly, a big if – it would be far more stirring to see Vick lead Kelly’s crew. Why not? Once more unto the breach. The guy who wrote that line was undoubtedly an Eagles fan. Ol' Will S. from South Philly, I think.
“I’ve followed Michael’s career and I understand what a talent he is,” Kelly said. “But there is nothing that’s on the board right now, there’s nothing that’s off the board right now. Our sole focus and goal is that we’re going to put an offense on the field that’s going to score points. That’s basically what we’re going to do and whoever that is, I don’t know that. I have to get our staff together and make an evaluation of who it is and how we get that personnel out there. There’s nobody ruled in, there’s nobody ruled out at this point in time.”
They should rule Vick in. Vick should rule Vick in. Nothing lasts forever, but it could last one more year.