Has there ever been more lavish praise from either side than during Michael Vick's few years with the Eagles? It has simply been a smashing partnership, and it has been since the first day Vick signed with the Eagles. He joined a stable franchise with a heart-felt sincerity and humility and Vick, from that very first day, has treated everyone in the organization and in the media and from a huge swath of fans with nothing but respect and appreciation.
From a football standpoint, Vick is a newly made quarterback. He isn't a drop-and-run quarterback, as he was so often in Atlanta. There are plenty of areas in Vick's game to improve, as there are with every player, and Vick understands that he gets out of the game what he puts in. That's why he is, and has been these last couple of years, the first one to the NovaCare Complex and the last one to leave. That's why Vick is never satisfied with a performance and why he understands -- he fully gets this -- that all that really matters is that the Eagles win at the end of the day (or night, in many cases) and that the only goal that matters is bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia.
Vick is very deserving of the contract extension agreed upon and announced on Monday night. It isn't the least bit surprising that the deal got done, not from this perspective. The Eagles' front office has been an efficient, standard-setting machine in this 2011 preseason. Of course they were going to get a deal done with Vick, understanding his value to this franchise and knowing that there is other business to conduct and that to do so, the numbers needed to work for purposes of the 2011 salary cap.
It's wonderful to know that Vick is here for the long haul, even if you didn't have many doubts. Vick had signed his franchise tender and was under contract for 2011, but by doing the six-year extension the Eagles were able to create some cap room for 2011 and, most important, secure Vick for years to come. The Eagles also have use of the franchise tag for next year, but that is a conversation to be had at that time.
Isn't this awesome? Every day, it seems, brings a new, neat next step for the team. The offseason has been boffo and the front office -- President Joe Banner, GM Howie Roseman, Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie and head coach Andy Reid along with the unheralded, but outstanding, supporting cast -- and the entire Eagles organization aren't finished yet. Not by a long shot. There are going to be a flurry of moves made in the next five days, you can bet on that. Roseman is going to engineer trades, hit the waiver wire and finagle to make this the best 53-man roster it can be. Banner knows the next question he has to answer has to do with what's next, and that DeSean Jackson's name is going to be front and center, and that there may be another player or two to consider in the contract-extension business.
For now, though, we're not looking ahead. We're enjoying the moment. Who in the world would have ever thought, three years ago, that Vick would be the face of the franchise and that he would have another huge contract (this one is reported to be worth, potentially, $100 million, with $40 million guaranteed) after spending two years in jail and losing a fortune, and a reputation, in the process? But here he is, a man who has learned that talking the talk is only one part of the equation, that walking the walk is what really, truly matters.
It is a good time, indeed, for the Eagles and their fans. This joyride began when the NFL opened for business in late July. It has continued right through to now, and should escalate as the regular season approaches. The Eagles should have a tidal wave of momentum heading into the September 11 opener in St. Louis, and that is a credit to a front office that understands how special this 2011 season can be.