If Donovan McNabb is potentially worth $78 million, what does that make
McNabb wasn't the only one who cashed in Monday night. So did Vick, whose value skyrocketed with his best performance of the season and maybe, just maybe, the best of his career. Vick becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season, and while he has said he'll give the Eagles first crack at re-signing him, it will be expensive.
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He's going to cost someone a gazillion dollars.
That much was assured Monday, and not just because Vick played so well. Before the game the Redskins announced that they extended the contract of McNabb, a 33-year-old quarterback who is the league's 29th-rated passer, has more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (9) and heads a 4-5 football team.
He's also a quarterback whom coach Mike Shanahan benched in the Redskins game against the Lions, with Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, offering so many explanations the only thing that was certain was that no one was happy with how McNabb was running their offense. And it's easy to see why: He wasn't playing well.
Yet, despite all that, the Redskins give him a contract extension, and someone please explain. All I know is that Vick should use the McNabb contract as the ground floor for his next negotiation. McNabb is a 33-year old quarterback who is struggling with the offense, who is struggling with his accuracy, who can't satisfy the head coach and who isn't winning. And that gets him $78 million?
I know a quarterback in Philadelphia who can use that as leverage, and he should. Michael Vick is the top-rated passer in the NFL. He hasn't thrown an interception this season. He hasn't lost a game he started and finished. He has the Eagles tied with the New York Giants for first in their division. And he's already atop some MVP ballots despite missing three starts with injured ribs.
Oh, yeah, he's also 30, which means -- unlike McNabb -- he's entering the prime of his career.
Prior to this year, Vick hadn't started for three seasons. Now he seems to improve with each game. He always was known as a playmaker who was one of the league's top running backs. But the hole in his game was his passing. He had a strong arm but no accuracy.
Tell that to Washington. Vick was on target with almost all of his throws Monday, which is how it's been this season. Short passes. Sideline passes. Deep balls. He hits them all. In short, he looks more like a bona fide quarterback, except he looks more like a bona fide quarterback nobody can tackle.
"Michael Vick could always beat you with his legs," said one scout, "but guess what? Now he can beat you with his arm."
Comparisons have been drawn between Vick and Steve Young, the 49ers' Hall of Fame quarterback, and that's logical since both are left-handed, and both are marvelous runners. Vick is quicker and more elusive than Young was, but Young was a more accurate passer. He also was more successful.
That gap was always there ... until now. Vick is closing it by making accurate throws and smart decisions, and the result is that Philadelphia not only is back as one of the NFL's elite teams, but Michael Vick is back as one of its superior playmakers. More than that, he's back as one of the game's elite quarterbacks, and that's good for Philadelphia now and great for Michael Vick in 2011.
Before the season the Eagles made a commitment to Kevin Kolb, the young quarterback they drafted in 2007, by extending his contract. But once Vick stepped on the field, it didn't take coach Andy Reid long to figure out that Kolb was the second-best quarterback on the roster. So after wrestling with the decision, he made a commitment to Vick before the Eagles' Sept. 26 game with Jacksonville.
Reid was criticized then, but he's criticized no more. He not only found himself a quarterback; he discovered a gold mine. So did Michael Vick. Let the good times roll.