After another terrible performance Monday night Michael Vick in a position where he will likely be released at seasons end and need to search for a new job. Vick’s current contract with Philadelphia allows the Eagles to part ways with Vick after the seasons end for a small cap charge of just $4.2 million dollars provided he is released as soon as the waiver period begins in February, which represents a cap savings of $12.7 million that can be used to instead bolster the defense or the offensive line.
Vick’s situation goes to show just how unimportant reported values are in an NFL contract. When Vick signed his deal in 2011 the contract was reported to be worth $100 million for 6 years which sent shockwaves throughout the NFL. While Vick was a star he was never on the level of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, neither of whom had a contract worth $100 million. As more details came out about the contract it was learned that the real value of the contract was 5 years for $80 million, with a void year being added so that Vick and his team could report a $100 million dollar deal. Considering Vick had already signed his franchise tender, which was guaranteed, that year the real value of the extension was 4 years for $63.943 million. Still not a number to laugh at but a far cry from the $100 million reported value.As things turned out Vick is actually only going to see $16.443 million of that near $64 million extension- only 25.7% of the total value. He will earn a total of $32.5 million of the $80 million total- 40.6%.
In hindsight the deal was well crafted to protect the Philadelphia Eagles in the event Vick crashed and burned, which seems to be the case. They guaranteed him two years of salary, but gave him almost no prorated money that could hamper the team from cutting Vick. Prorated money is a safety net for the player in that if the dead money is so high the team will be unable to release the player due to salary cap considerations. Had Vick pushed for a higher signing bonus and perhaps taken a slightly lower overall contract in return he would have been more protected from release come February.
That being said Vick will find a job when and if he is released. He is one of those enigmatic players that can dazzle you at times with his running ability and floor you at others with his complete lack of understanding of the position. But his ability to be spectacular will get him another chance. The question is for how much money? Vick will be 33 in June, which is not old for a good QB, but Vick’s body has taken a beating and he relies so much on his athletic ability that it is hard to view him as a true QB. Vick’s on field performance warrants a contract in line with the lower tier starters making between $8 and $10 million a year, so if he wants to make more than that he probably needs to take an incentive laden one year “prove it” deal for some team. At 33 years of age that could be his end.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.