The worst kept secret of the upcoming NFL offseason has been revealed. The Eagles will use the “Franchise Tag” on Michael Vick virtually ensuring that he plays for the team again next season, whenever that might be.
Given Vick’s on-field exploits during his 2010 comeback season, this was a no-brainer for the typically shrewd Eagles brass. Keeping Vick ensures that the Eagles will remain contenders next season and cause headaches and other ailments in NFC East rival cities Dallas, New York, and Washington.
So for the next 7-8 months, or however long it will be before the players go to training camp for the next season, the pressure has shifted to Vick. He goes into the offseason having regained his prominence as the most exciting player in professional football and the typical off-field scrutiny is sure to follow. Vick still has over a year left on his probation and his suspended sentence stemming from his conviction for dog fighting in 2007.
Last summer, Vick was unable to navigate the offseason without incident, which undoubtedly played into the Eagles decision to use the Franchise Tag and not sign him to a long-term deal with an enormous signing bonus. To get that long-term deal, Vick will have to make it through this offseason without any issues and prove that he’s going to avoid any kind of trouble that might get him locked up again.
As for Kevin Kolb, the Eagles are reportedly now discussing trading their 2010 opening day starter. With this being reported the day after the Senior Bowl was played, one wonders if the Eagles have their eye on their newest QB project?
Kolb’s value shouldn’t get any higher than it is right now and there are plenty of possibilities for a trade partner:
- Carolina: The Panthers say that they are not comfortable with Jimmy Clausen as their QB and that they consider that a position of need. Now a skeptic would see that and determine that the Panthers are posturing in an effort to drive up the price for their first overall pick and the ability to draft anybody on the board. But if the Panthers are serious and they are interested in Kolb, maybe a combination of Kolb and the Eagles #23 pick for the #1 could come up?
- Buffalo: You never really know with the Bills these days. There’s been a lot of speculation in upstate New York about their QB situation. Would 92 yr old Ralph Wilson be more comfortable with a somewhat proven NFL QB like Kolb over a rookie draft pick like Gabbert or Newton? This could be another potential trade with Kolb and the #23 for the Bills #3 pick.
- Cincinnati: Carson Palmer wants out. Would the Bengals trade their #4 for Kolb and the #23, and then trade Palmer for a second or third rounder? That might be too complex for owner Mike Brown to handle.
- Arizona, San Francisco, and Minnesota: These are all NFC competitors (much better than Carolina) that are relatively close to a playoff spot and could eventually compete for a NFC championship. It’s hard to believe that Andy Reid would keep Kolb in the NFC unless he didn’t like him that much and thought that he could beat Kolb. He traded McNabb to the Redskins because he knew Donovan was done and how to defend him.
- Tennessee: Would the Eagles be interested in the spunky Courtland Finnegan? Maybe the Titans and Eagles can swap first rounders and Kolb for Finnegan? Then the Eagles would have addressed their second corner position while getting an opportunity to move into the end of the top 10. New defensive line coach, Jim Washburn, came from the Titans and could have input here.
Another team, like the Dolphins, might get into this as well, but don’t they remember A.J. Feeley in South Beach?
What would be interesting to see is if the Eagles were impressed with the play of, say, FSU QB Christian Ponder during yesterday’s Senior Bowl and they were willing to move Kolb to acquire more draft pieces in order to get Ponder in the 20-30 area while also having another first round pick to get a linebacker or corner?
Head coach and QB are the two most important positions for a NFL team. The Eagles decision to keep Vick and move Kolb might be the best thing to happen to Kolb’s eventual new team.
- Brian W.