Is Vick's Contract One of the Worst in the NFL?

Is Vick's Contract One of the Worst in the NFL?

ESPN's John Clayton ranked the 10 worst contracts in the NFL on Thursday, and Michael Vick's (supposed) six-year deal worth $100 million made the list. Actually, it was second.

Here's what Clayton had to say:

2. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (six years, $100 million): The Eagles are coming off a bye week in which Andy Reid fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, and he is evaluating every position. Vick is the quarterback for now, but after the so-called "Dream Team" didn't make the playoffs last season, the 3-3 start has everything under review. Reid could be in trouble if the Eagles don't make the playoffs, and that would affect Vick. He has $47.5 million coming to him in 2013-15, but the Eagles might try to get out of the deal if Reid is gone.

Clayton is certainly spot on in his assessment that everything is about to come under review, so at face value, Vick's enormous contract does look like a mistake. It's not really so simple as that though.

For one thing, the fact that we even still refer to this contract as six years, $100 million is ludicrous. As Clayton appears to be aware, the final year (2016) and change ($20 million) already voided. In fact, they voided when Vick played in 35% of the team's offensive snaps in 2011 -- the first year of the contract -- and would have voided had he done that it any season over the life of the contract.

Six years, $100 million was a farce. It's five years at $80.

Next, Clayton opined the Eagles might "try" to get out of the contract in the near future. As has been pointed out before, and increasingly more of late, the team can very easily get out from under Vick's contract as early as next season. Only $3 mil of next year's base salary is guaranteed, and according to EaglesCap.com, the total cap hit to cut Vick would be a little more than $7 mil. It gets even easier move on in years four and five.

$7 million is a tough pill to swallow, but not prohibitively so. It's an amount that will at least make the front office think twice about outright dumping Vick, which it's a little premature to assume the Eagles will take that route anyway.

Which brings us to the final aspect of Vick's deal: the cold, hard cash. Is he overpaid based on his performance this season and last? You can very easily make that case -- his average salary of $16 million per year is third behind only Drew Brees ($20) and Peyton Manning ($19.2).

Still, the reality is starting quarterbacks make a lot of money in the NFL, which Clayton notes himself when ripping Carson Palmer's deal. Kevin Kolb averages $10.5M, based on the assumption he would be a starter. Kansas City's Matt Cassel -- who just lost his job to Brady Quinn or would otherwise give Vick some competition for the coveted turnover record -- averages $10.5M from a long-term deal signed back in '09. The Jets recently extended Mark Sanchez at $11.6 per for who knows what reason, the Raiders handed Palmer $10.7 to come out of retirement. (Numbers courtesy of spotrac.)

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean the Eagles made the right call when they gave Vick all that money. In fact, all four of those players happen to appear on Clayton's list. That said, seeing as the organization built so many outs into the contract, it's hard to understand where Clayton was coming from here. They're not locked down long-term, and they still have a quarterback who gives them a chance to win every week -- and I wouldn't necessarily say the same for those other guys. It seems with so many teams  stuck paying for nothing, it's safe to say Vick's placement was an exaggeration to say the least.

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Chicago Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.

Kane has 23 goals to lead Chicago, which closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.

Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game (see full recap).

Rangers outlast Maple Leafs in shootout
TORONTO -- Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner and the New York Rangers continued a strong February with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves and J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal in the third period for the Rangers, who improved to 8-1-1 this month.

New York moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points.

Connor Brown scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-7 in shootouts this season. Frederik Andersen had a stellar performance in defeat with 37 saves.

The Leafs hold the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division (68 points), two points back of Ottawa (70) and four back of Montreal (see full recap).

Islanders shut out Canadiens
MONTREAL -- Rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored in the first period, Thomas Greiss made 24 saves, and the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 Thursday night.

Anders Lee scored in the second period and John Tavares added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the Islanders' third straight win. New York has won the first two games on a crucial nine-game road swing and improved to 12-4-2 since interim coach Doug Weight replaced the fired Jack Capuano.

Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had two assists, and Greiss got his third shutout of the season.

Carey Price finished with 21 saves as the Canadiens lost coach Claude Julien's 1,000th NHL game. Montreal is 1-2-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien last week and has totaled just 14 goals while going 2-7-1 in the last 10 games, including four shutouts (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

NEW ORLEANS -- The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans' tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn't keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players' first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists (see full recap).

LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Knicks
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James recorded his 48th career triple-double and Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 119-104 victory over the New York Knicks, who hung on to superstar Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose at Thursday's trade deadline.

James scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds with 15 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season.

Anthony, the subject of trade rumors because of a strained relationship with Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson, scored 20 points, going 9 of 25 from the field.

Kyle Korver scored 20 points for Cleveland, which is 8-1 in February and has beaten New York 10 straight times.

Courtney Lee had 25 points for New York, which has lost six of seven and is 12th in the Eastern Conference playoff race (see full recap).

Pistons rally from 18 down to beat Hornets in OT
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 33 points, including three 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter during a pulsating Detroit rally, and the Pistons outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 114-108 in overtime Thursday night.

Caldwell-Pope scored Detroit's last 11 points of regulation, and his 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds to play tied the game at 100. Kemba Walker scored Charlotte's final nine points of the fourth, but the Pistons forced him to give up the ball on the last possession, and Marco Belinelli missed a 3-pointer that could have won it.

Detroit, which was behind by 18 in the third quarter, never trailed in the overtime. Caldwell-Pope's 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining put the Pistons up 110-102.

Charlotte led 85-70 at the start of the fourth but missed 14 of its first 15 shots in the period, enabling Detroit to cut into the lead.

Walker scored 34 points. Tobias Harris had 25 for the Pistons (see full recap).