It was all business for Michael Vick on Wednesday as he signed a one-year contract as the Eagles' franchise player, setting the stage for what is going to be a fascinating offseason for the quarterback position. Vick will be paid a salary estimated to be between $16 million and $20 million for 2011, and he will be counted on to take the Eagles to new heights.
He is one of the three players on the roster that give the Eagles as strong and as deep and as enviable a quarterback position in the league. Behind Vick is Kevin Kolb, a young quarterback destined to be a star, a player who has been the NFC Offensive Player of the Week twice in his six NFL starts. Behind them is second-year man Mike Kafka, a player who is in the perfect position to learn and develop his game.
It is the kind of stability and talent at the game's most important position that teams crave. It doesn't happen often to have two quarterbacks who have the talent and the mental makeup of Vick and Kolb on the same roster. The Eagles know they can go into a game with either quarterback and win. That is a rare feeling in this quarterback-starved league.
Of course, we don't know what to expect with this offseason, and with this quarterback position. The Eagles have an extremely noteworthy player in Kolb, who is reportedly attracting all kinds of interest from teams around the league. Would the Eagles consider trading him? Kolb is in the final year of his contract, has a good salary-cap number (about $1.4 million, reportedly) and knows this offense inside and out.
Why trade him? Kolb is a great second quarterback to have. The players believe in him. The coaches trust him. He and Vick have a tremendous relationship. Isn't that the kind of player you want around?
Kolb sure is, but at the same time the Eagles have to be smart and weigh their options. They have gone through this before, of course. Last year's trade of Donovan McNabb to Washington ended the drama of the offseason and provided the Eagles with two good draft picks -- a second-round selection last year that became safety Nate Allen and a fourth-round pick this April -- from Washington. It was a great deal for the Eagles.
Is there another great deal out there? From the way the analysts around the league talk, the price of acquiring Kolb would be much higher than that. Much, much higher. Kolb is a starting quarterback in this league for the next five to seven seasons, maybe longer. He has a fresh body and he has the know-how to win games. He has already done it in fits and starts in the league.
There seems to be a foregone conclusion out there that the Eagles are going to trade Kolb, no doubt about it. I say that isn't the case at all. I say the Eagles know that Vick plays an aggressive game, that he is going to take some hits and that their No. 2 quarterback has to be capable of stepping in and winning for stretches at a time. Are the Eagles going to have anyone more equipped than Kolb for that?
All I know for sure is that I sit here today and look at a quarterback position that is extremely well stocked. It is a good feeling to have, with great anticipation about what is ahead for the position.
NEWS, NOTES AND A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT
- Good moves on the tender offers to the team's restricted free agents, and certainly they translate to business-like deals. Nothing special, but certainly it is interesting to note that middle linebacker Stewart Bradley's compensation should he sign elsewhere would be a second-round draft pick. That tells me that Bradley is returning to the Eagles in 2011, which I certainly hoped for all along. I just wonder who plays middle linebacker given the emergence of rookie Jamar Chaney in 2010. Bradley is a fine middle linebacker, and I expect both he and Chaney to start. But where?
- Still not given his contract tender is punter Sav Rocca. I expect that to happen on Thursday. Nick Cole was not offered a contract, which I find interesting. Expect right guard to be an area to address in the offseason. The list of players, in total, not offered a tender: linebackers Ernie Sims, Omar Gaither and Akeem Jordan; offensive linemen Cole and Reggie Wells; running back Jerome Harrison; Rocca; and defensive backs Antoine Harris and Ellis Hobbs.
- Suddenly, that list of potential unrestricted free agents on this team doesn't look that daunting, does it? The Eagles will return their roster largely intact, with a draft, with free agency, with the trade route still open to add talent and competition to this roster.
- Linebacker, obviously, needs to be addressed in a big way. If I had to guess now, I would say Bradley plays in the middle, Chaney plays on the weak side and either Moise Fokou or Rashad Jeanty wins the SAM job. The Eagles still need three more players at linebacker to get to their normal number of seven. And, yes, they could have Jordan or Gaither or even Sims back for 2011. No doors are shut on any players.
- Understand, of course, that all of this tender business is dependent upon the new collective bargaining agreement. The tenders may not mean a thing once the new CBA is established.
- No tender for running back Jerome Harrison means ... what, exactly? Not sure. I think the Eagles like Harrison a lot, but they chose not to tender him. It would not surprise me to see Harrison back here next year, but I can't predict at all what might happen there.
- Oh, by the way: Teams have until the end of Thursday to offer more tenders, so the Eagles can still have some news to add. Don't presume anything ...