Another exciting day in the middle of February. Yes the Sports Illustrated swimsuit addition is now on stands, but that is not the reason to be excited. Today the Eagles did as expected and placed the franchise tag on Michael Vick. It is a smart decision and the right thing to do. Vick was the NFL's biggest surprise last season. He stepped in after Kevin Kolb went down in week one and almost brought the eagles back for a win against the future super bowl champs. He then proceeded to play lights out before getting injured and missing a few weeks in the middle of the season. Vick returned to guide the Eagles to another NFC East division title. His season ending numbers were the best of his career:
Yards Comp% TD's INT's QB Rating
3,018 62.6 21 6 100.2
By using the franchise tag this allows the Eagles a few options. As good as Vick was last season, there is a question of durability. He did miss four games and seemed to wear down towards the end of the season. Some would say it was the cold weather, but with Vick's style of play and the Eagles sub par offensive line, truth is the hits had to add up. The franchise tag gives the Eagles another season to see if Vick can stay healthy. It allows them to see if he can progress as a quarterback and therefore take less hits as a runner. If he can adjust to the blitz and better read the defense prior to the snap he should be able to find the open man and learn to use his head more then his legs. As he gets older this will be vital to have continued success.
Franchising Vick also frees up options for a possible Kevin Kolb trade (Assuming the new CBA gets done). Kolb has made it clear that he feels as though he has earned the right to start and by franchising Vick the Eagles have made it clear that it will not be in midnight green. Kolb has value, maybe not two first round picks value as rumored, but the Eagles should get at least a first round pick in April for his services. The question is, are the Eagles willing to trade a guy they are more then confident in to step in and be a possible long term answer if Vick goes down. If Kolb is traded they would have to bring in a veteran guy or rely on second year man Mike Kafka to be one play away from taking over for an extended period of time. I don't know enough about Kafka to feel comfortable with that situation. The best scenario is for the Eagles to look for a trade where they get the first round pick they are looking for in addition to a veteran quarterback in return with a mid round additional pick this season or next.
The Eagles gambled when they brought Vick back in 2009. That gamble has now paid off. They have a guy that has no comparison. He can single handily take over a game, ( please see Eagles vs. Giants 12/19/10). He is 30 years old, but not an NFL 30. He has a lot of gas left in the tank and as we have seen, with good coaching Vick can complete his transition from an athlete that plays quarterback to a quarterback that is an athlete. I believe the Eagles will sign Vick long term before the beginning of next season. I also believe that they would have done that already if it were not for the situation with the CBA. Today the "Gold Standard" made the right move, lets just hope the smart decisions continue.