Eagles have options if they eventually decide to dump Michael Vick

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 9: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on from the sideline in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that the Eagles were seriously considering dumping Michael Vick, although the rumor was quickly denied by reputable NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN, as well as the team itself.

But what if the Eagles decided to part ways with Vick in wake of his latest off-field situation? Would they be comfortable releasing him with no veteran to backup the inexperienced Kevin Kolb next season?

Considering Vick was mostly used out of the Wildcat formation last year, the answer to that question is easy. Jeff Garcia, the veteran QB who has history with the Eagles, would be the most logical option if Vick were released. Garcia is already well versed in Andy Reid’s offense and despite his weak arm strength, he’s a better passing quarterback than Vick, who may have a rocket attached to his left shoulder but whose accuracy remains a major issue.

Another option the Eagles might have is one that was brought up by ESPN and that’s Troy Smith, who probably could be had for the right price. The former Heisman Trophy winner is rotting behind Joe Flacco in Baltimore and would like the opportunity to start somewhere else. Kolb is entrenched as the starter right now in Philly, but that doesn’t mean Smith wouldn’t have the opportunity to unseat him if he starts to struggle at any point during the season.

The point is that Vick isn’t worth the trouble for the Eagles. Reid’s experiment with him in the Wildcat last year often produced poor results and at 30 year’s old, it’s not like the former No. 1 overall pick has regained his lightening-quick speed. (He’s reportedly in better shape than he was last year, but that doesn’t mean he’s the athlete he once was.)

I would stop short of calling Vick expendable, but he’s certainly not worth the headache if he gets into even an ounce of trouble with the league over the Quanis Phillips shooting. And truth be told, the Eagles missed out on a golden opportunity to trade him this offseason by asking for a second round pick (which was way too high) in exchange for his services.

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Is Vick destined to be a backup in the NFL?

When Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com asked a NFL scout that watched all 64 snaps that Michael Vick took last season, this is what he said:

“He can’t throw,” the scout said. “A guy could be open 20 yards downfield and he’ll throw it 25. He never could throw, but he was fast before. It’s not like he’s slow now but he doesn’t stick out like, ‘Wow, this guy is faster than everybody.’”

I then sent a text message to a top NFL personnel director asking whether the lack of trade buzz surrounding Vick stems from the fact he is no longer a special athletic talent. The response: “Right on.”

What the scout said isn’t necessarily a shocking revelation. Like the scout, many people thought that Vick couldn’t throw before he went to prison, so it stands to reason that he still can’t after he spent two years in lock up. Factor in his drop in speed and athletic ability given his age and it’s no wonder that teams aren’t jumping at the chance to trade for Vick.

Marvez goes on:

But if teams were convinced he could become the old Michael Vick, wouldn’t some of his former bosses have tried to acquire him by now? St. Louis general manager Billy Devaney worked in Atlanta’s front office when Vick rushed for 1,000 yards in 2006. Cleveland general manager Tom Heckert Jr. held that same position last year in Philadelphia, allowing him a day-to-day look at Vick in practice.

The Rams and Browns entered the offseason desperate for quarterbacking help but both went in a different direction. St. Louis signed A.J. Feeley, who has experience in offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s offense from the time both were with the Eagles. The Browns added free agent Jake Delhomme and traded with Seattle for Seneca Wallace, who has a similar skill-set to Vick.

It is a little surprising that a team like the Rams hasn’t made a move yet. The Eagles can’t be asking for too much in return for a quarterback that won’t be on their roster in 2011, so one would think that St. Louis would part with a sixth rounder in order to acquire Vick. But maybe teams don’t even think he’s worth that much.

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Eagles to keep all three quarterbacks?

It appears that the Eagles are fine with the possibility of keeping Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick on their roster for the 2010 season.

ESPN.com is reporting that the Eagles will pick up Vick’s $1.5 million roster bonus, which is due on Tuesday. That means unless a team makes Philly an offer they can’t refuse, it looks like Vick will have to wait another to become a starter.

That said, the Rams, Bills and Raiders still have plenty of time to make a move for Vick. It’s hard to believe that the Eagles would pass on a fourth round pick if one were offered to them, especially considering Vick will become a free agent next year and they won’t get anything for him if he signs elsewhere. It doesn’t make sense for the Eagles not to acquire compensation for a quarterback they’re not even using, but it’s wise that they’re playing their cards close to their chest right now.

As far as McNabb and Kolb are concerned, it appears that the Eagles will hang onto both players unless they’re offered a first round pick for either of them. And even then, they may ultimately decide that they want to see how the 2010 season plays out before deciding what they want to do in 2011.

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Eagles to hang onto Vick until preseason?

According to NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora, the Eagles might not trade quarterback Michael Vick until the preseason. The thought is to up Vick’s trade value by displaying him in preseason games and then waiting for other teams to panic due to injuries and uncertainty at the quarterback position.

If Philly does decide to wait, it’ll cost them. Vick is due a $1.5 million roster bonus on March 5 and if the Eagles don’t trade him before then, they’ll also guarantee $1 million of the quarterback’s 2010 salary. But if they can acquire a higher draft pick in return, it’s a price the Eagles are probably willing to pay.

The Rams remain the front-runners for Vick because of GM Billy Devaney’s relationship with the quarterback in Atlanta. Marc Bulger is no longer a viable starting option at quarterback and neither are Keith Null or Kyle Boller, so St. Louis would love to upgrade.

The Bills are another team desperate to start fresh at the quarterback position and with Chan Gailey’s history with mobile quarterbacks, Vick would make sense in Buffalo. The Raiders might make a play for Vick as well and a sleeper team that could emerge come preseason is the Cardinals, who aren’t completely sold on Matt Leinart yet.

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Did Eagles make Kevin Kolb a contract offer?

Philadelphia radio host Garry Cobb reported Friday that the Eagles have extended a long-term contract offer to quarterback Kevin Kolb, although Scout.com’s Adam Caplan is denying the report.

From the CourierPostOnline.com:

The report, which cites an anonymous source, surfaced on the personal Web site of former Eagles linebacker Garry Cobb, a host on Philadelphia sports-talk station WIP (610-AM). Terms of the contract extension weren’t mentioned in the report.

An Eagles spokesperson said the team doesn’t comment on contract issues, and a league source said Cobb’s report was “ridiculously false.”

Usually, with sudden reports like these, the truth is somewhere in between.

It’s more likely that talks between the organization and Kolb have begun, but the sides don’t want to make negotiations public.

It’s in the Eagles’ best interest to play things close to the vest. They have three quarterbacks on their roster that could start for either them or elsewhere and they can’t divulge their plans until they know what teams are interested in which signal caller.

Chances are that Michael Vick is a goner. The Eagles don’t want to pay Vick’s 2010 salary ($5.25 million) to watch him ride the bench and not get compensation for him when he becomes a free agent at the end of the year. If a team like the Rams or Bills offer a fourth or fifth round pick for the former starter, it would be surprising if Philly passed.

Now, the real question is what the Eagles want to do with McNabb and Kolb. Do they want to commit to Kolb and close the door on the McNabb era? Or does Andy Reid want to give McNabb one more shot to win a Super Bowl before committing to Kolb in 2011?

If I were to take a stab at predicting what will happen, I think the Eagles would trade McNabb if they can land a first round pick in return. If not, they’ll stick with McNabb for one more year and then commit to Kolb in 2011.

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