A special master ruled in October that the Falcons were entitled to recover the bonuses. The Falcons argued that Vick used proceeds from a contract he signed in 2004 to finance his illicit activities.
But U.S. District Judge David Doty of Minneapolis ruled that the Falcons’ recovering the bonus money would violate the NFL collective bargaining agreement. The agreement does not allow signing bonuses to be forfeited for years a player has already performed.
The Falcons probably weren’t going to get back all of the $20 million anyway, but many figured they would have at least recovered three or four million. So the football gods look down on the Atlanta Falcons again and laugh. Not only do they still need a quarterback (I say that with all due respect to Chris Redman, Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich, of course), but also won’t receive any cap relief in order to maybe pursue one.
At least Vick can use some of the $20 million to pay back Wachovia Bank for the $1.08 million he borrowed to open up a wine and spirits restaurant.
Update: Check that, Vick is now on the hook for $3.75 million.