But even despite such exceptional athleticism and the amazing rejuvenation he's undergone since joining the Eagles post-prison sentence, the team may soon come to regret the six-year, $100 million contract (with $40 million guaranteed) that they've reportedly just shelled out to him.
Vick has shown plenty of brilliance on the gridiron throughout his career, but he's also experienced stages of mediocrity. There have been times when you might think that he's poised to punch his ticket to Canton, but then there's other times when he simply tries to do too much — which is really the result of him possessing such uncanny abilities.
In other words, while he might be one of the NFL's most dynamic players, he's also one of the most frustrating — although last season was admittedly different.
After Vick supplanted Kevin Kolb — who was thought to be ready to take over the reigns — as Philly's starting quarterback last year, it was the beginning of one of the most mystifying seasons in recent memory. Not only had he come back to the NFL after serving a 21-month prison sentence and spending two months in home confinement, but he'd risen up the Eagles depth chart in order to put together his best season as a pro. Had it not been for Tom Brady, we'd likely be talking about Vick as the reigning NFL MVP.
But, historically, Vick's failed to live up to the expectations of a $100-million player, a notion he proved in the wake of signing a 10-year, $130 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons in December 2004, which marked the richest deal in league history.
After that season, during which the Falcons lost to the Eagles in the playoffs, Atlanta never again made the postseason with Vick under center. They went 15-16 in games that he started during the following two seasons before eventually losing him after the 2006 season because of his dogfighting antics and subsequent legal troubles.
Are this year's Eagles a better all-around team than those Falcons squads? Without a doubt. Is Vick a better quarterback now than he was back then? You could certainly make that argument. Should the Eagles be confident that he's the guy that can get them over the Super Bowl hump? Well, that's a different story.
As brilliant as Vick was last season, there has to be some concern as to how long his body can hold up going forward.
The two years that Vick was out of the league could actually be a blessing in disguise when you consider how much reckless abandon he plays with, but, when you're talking about a 31-year-old quarterback who relies so heavily on his legs to make plays, you have to wonder if he can stick around for 16 games every season for the next six years. And playing in a division alongside the Cowboys and Giants, it's essential that he does just that.
Vick missed three games last season because of a rib cartilage injury he suffered against the Washington Redskins in Week 4. While he didn't show many ill effects upon returning, the injury was the result of him laying his body on the line after exiting the pocket
There's been a lot of emphasis since Vick returned to the NFL on Eagles head coach Andy Reid transforming him into more of a pocket passer. But even in his brilliant season last year, he still ran the ball 100 times, which was 32 more than the second-highest total among quarterbacks (Josh Freeman). And his 11 fumbles were tied for an NFL high.
Given the wear and tear that's bound to impact his body, it's hard to imagine a 37-year-old Vick scampering around with the same all-or-nothing, youthful mentality and succeeding at a 2010 level toward the end of his contract.
Now, it's certainly understandable that the Eagles had to lock Vick up with him having been set to enter the season on a one-year franchise tender. He excelled last season (although not so much in the team's one playoff game), the Eagles traded away Kolb and they are entering the 2011 season with otherworldly expectations. The term "Dream Team" is rarely tossed around in NFL circles, but that's exactly the kind of praise the Eagles are getting, although a lot of it hinges on whether we see a repeat performance from Vick.
But with the need to extend wide receiver DeSean Jackson before long, history working against Vick and the unlikeliness of his body sustaining so many blows down the line, we might eventually look back on this deal and wonder what the Eagles were thinking. And somewhere, former Falcons GM Rich McKay will have a nice chuckle over it, knowing this time it isn't his fault.
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