Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How many tackles can he break in the shower?

I've been all over the Vick dog fighting story since it broke nearly three months ago, bringing you exclusive footage from the mansion, and the official music video of Vick's agent, Joel Segal. When supposed Atlanta-based NFL expert Len Pasquarelli (Segal's BFF) was guaranteeing that Vick would skate and defended Vick at every turn, I laughed my ass off. I watched Vick's denial at the NFL draft and sighed at the perversion of the NFL's remembrance of the Virginia Tech shooting victims. And now, with Falcons training camp set to open in about a week, Vick is set to simultaneously appear before a federal judge.

At about the same time as Vick's Virginia mansion was first raided, the Falcons were finalizing a trade of backup QB Matt Schaub to the Texans for two second round picks and a swap of first round picks, with the Falcons moving up two spots. The Falcons reached a little on Arkansas DE Jamaal Anderson, and from what I read he would have dropped to 10 if the Falcons hadn't traded up, rendering the first round pick swap inconsequential. They finalized the deal, essentially trading the premier backup quarterback (26 years old) in the NFL for two second round picks, two weeks before raid. In hindsight, of course they should have held on to Schaub, but Schaub was in a contract year and with Vick uncuttable due to his huge signing bonus it was a sensible move.

Looking back, the Falcons never should have made Vick the highest paid player in the NFL. He'd had some injuries, he'd had some minor problems off the field, and, most notably, he wasn't the best player in the NFL. A question I haven't heard asked is whether or not the Falcons can try to go after some of the $37 million guaranteed money Vick received in the megadeal. The team could pursue over $20 million, the prorated portion of the signing bonus not yet earned, but it would be tough unless there was specific wording in his contract. For example, when Kellen Winslow, Jr. and Jay Williams were involved in career threatening motorcycle accidents, their contracts specifically said the couldn't ride motorcycles so their clubs could recoup guaranteed money. If the Falcons could get this money back so they won't have to eat the cap hit for cutting him, then they absolutely should. You can't have a QB facing federal charges, let alone in the new NFL where a DUI could draw a two game suspension.

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