Why Michael Vick Will Be Out of Town... Soon

Michael Vick Trial Walk

You may have seen the report on NFL.com that Michael Vick likely won’t be traded until the preseason:

Sources from two teams who would be in the market for a quarterback said they don’t expect Vick to be dealt until the preseason. That’s when his value could be enhanced by strong preseason performances, a full offseason of work with his team and injuries/uncertainty at quarterback on other teams.

Spending $1.5 million to retain Vick’s services isn’t a significant impediment for a team like the Eagles, and while doing so also guarantees $1 million of the quarterback’s 2010 salary, that isn’t a major financial hindrance, either.

This just doesn’t make any sense to me. The argument seems to be that since Mike Vick hasn’t seen much action at quarterback, teams won’t want to trade for him before they see him in preseason games.

Um, what?

So these admittedly QB-needy teams can wait until after training camp and halfway through the preseason before acquiring their starting quarterback? And a quarterback who, because of his time away, is going to need all the reps he can get in what will likely be a new offense?

Yeah… I don’t buy that.

The only redeeming part of this report is that it helps us consider why the Eagles might choose to wait and pay Vick his bonus. Maybe if the team doesn’t get any offer it considers serious, it will wait until after the draft to send Vick to a team that missed out on its draft target. A conditional draft pick deal for 2011 could still be worked out.

But honestly I don’t see Vick’s value going up after the draft. By waiting, all you’ve done is eliminate a bunch of teams who might have been interested but have suddenly thrown in with Jimmy Clausen, Sam Bradford, or Tim Tebow.

Vick’s value is highest now, while there are a number of teams who could use his services both as a potentially-good starting quarterback and instant attention-grabber (with media coverage that would explode all offseason). As long as that’s the case, I’m sure the Eagles would rather get rid of Vick before they have to pay him $1.5 million. To keep Vick past the beginning of March, the Eagles would have to believe: Later deal > Deal now + $1.5 million bonus. I don’t see it.

Finally, not to repeat the GCobb/Kolb Contract-Gate fiasco all over again, but who are these sources, and what are their motives?

From “teams who would be in the market for a quarterback,” it seems like these two guys have a vested interest in Vick’s market value staying low. Saying that he’s not worth very much until he plays in preseason games sounds like posturing. Obviously teams can’t afford to wait that long. But that has to be part of the argument from one front office to another to lower the asking price for Vick.

$1.5 million might not sound like much in the greater context of things, but for a cap/money-smart team like the Eagles it’s tough to see them paying that to a guy who won’t be playing for them next year. Especially if there’s no likely payoff in terms of trade value.