Let’s start this debate with an opinion: Mike Vick will still be on the Eagles’ roster this weekend.
Despite a Feb. 6 deadline — if Vick is on the team past that date, then the Eagles have to pay him $3 million — Chip Kelly wants to do all his due diligence on this one. And even if they cut him after Feb. 6, whichever team that picked him up — assuming one does — would pay that $3 million.
Translation: The Eagles wouldn’t be breaking the bank by keeping Vick around a few more weeks and letting Kelly figure everything out, presumably after he announces a finalized coaching staff.
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As with anything, there are pros and cons. We take a look at some of those:
Pros (of keeping Vick):
1. Tough competition. With Vick still on the roster, Nick Foles can’t assume he is the starter moving forward. He’ll have to prepare, mentally and physically, for a heated quarterback battle during camp. Competition brings out the best in everyone, especially a second-year player trying to impress a new coach. Given Vick's experience and supreme confidence, we wouldn't bet against him.
2. The athleticism. No one is going to confuse this version of Vick, at 33, to the one who used to break linebacker’s ankles in Atlanta. However, Vick is still a huge upgrade, in terms of his mobility, to Foles. This could be a very intriguing option for Kelly’s spread offense. The fact that Vick hasn't been cut yet is a clear sign the coach is thinking (drooling?) about just that.
3. Short list. There aren’t many free agents or possible draft picks that could come in and make an immediate impact — unless you feel a re-tread like Alex Smith has some gas left, or if Kelly can transform Dennis Dixon, his former QB at Oregon, from a practice squad quarterback into an NFL starter in a few short months. Or would the name Tim Tebow be on their radar? Let's hope not.
Cons (of keeping Vick)
1. Cash money. The Eagles can take their time and let the process play out for now. But if Vick is still on the roster by June 1, they’ll have to pay him the $15.5 million (unless he agrees to a restructured contract) that he’s due for the season. That’s a lot of loot to invest in a guy that really hasn’t show much since 2010.
2. Foles’ confidence. Foles hasn't been guaranteed anything, but Jeff Lurie did admit he'd like the kid to get a chance. By bring Vick back, you would be admitting that you don’t fully trust Foles to take the helm. Even if your intention is to motivate Foles, it sends a mixed message to the kid.
3. Broken Vick. Since performing like an MVP in 2010, Vick has looked downright broken ever since. He’s registered 24 interceptions (vs. six in all of 2010) and lost seven fumbles. Vick also has had trouble staying healthy, has been criticized for holding the ball too long and appears to be a step slower. Is Vick fixable? We're leaning toward no.