The Eagles accomplished this evening their most pressing bit of contract-related business before the start of the NFL season -- they agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract with quarterback Michael Vick, which will lower his cap number this year from $16 million to about $14.4 million, a league source confirmed. The team then announced they had come to agreement on a six-year deal.
Vick, 31, trails in salary only the Patriots' Tom Brady and the Colts' Peyton Manning ($18 million a year) among NFL quarterbacks. His deal averages about $16.67 million per year. The news was broken Monday night by Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post, who has worked for the Eagles in the past as a contract negotiator.
The team had franchised Vick this season for $16 million, but he would have become an unrestricted free agent after the season, unless they reached agreement on a long-term deal then, or franchised him again. Had the Eagles and Vick not reached agreement by Sept. 20, they would have had to wait until after the season to talk.
It might be worth noting that since the Eagles now definitely won't be franchising Vick again, they will have that tag available if they need to use it on wideout DeSean Jackson, whose contract expires this season. The Eagles and Jackson have been discussing a new deal, but they are not believed to be close to agreement.
Rumors that a Vick deal was close have circulated for about a week, but Eagles sources and sources close to Vick would not comment.
"He's worked very hard this training camp," Eagles coach Andy Reid told the Daily News today when asked about any possible qualms concerning Vick. The question was asked before news of the deal broke.
"I have confidence in him. I know Michael's a good football player," Reid said, when asked about staking his future on Vick.
Vick joined the Eagles in 2009, fresh from a federal prison term for dogfighting, having declared bankruptcy. It will be interesting to see if his contract contains any clauses beyond the norm relating to personal conduct.
In a statement released by the team, Reid said, "I'm very happy we were able to reach an agreement with Michael on this long-term contract. It's a product of all the hard work Michael has done to better himself over the last couple of years, both on and off the field. I'm very proud that he has been able to achieve success again in this league, but he'll be the first one to tell you that there is a lot of work yet to be done by him and this team as a whole. And there's no doubt in my mind that he will continue on that path. I give a lot of credit to Joe Banner and Joel Segal for getting this deal done."