Philadelphia Eagles: Is Michael Vick Playing for His Job in 2012?

Cody SwartzSenior Writer IMay 24, 2012

The Philadelphia Eagles inked Michael Vick to a six-year, $100 million deal after his memorable 2010 season, a contract that is scheduled to keep Vick in Philly through 2016.

Vick followed up his MVP-caliber campaign with a highly disappointing 2011 season, struggling again with injuries as well as inconsistency, erratic passing and turnovers. Vick has been said to be on the unofficial hot seat heading into this season; after all, football contracts aren’t guaranteed, and Andy Reid does need to win now to salvage his job.

So is Vick playing for his job in 2012?

All signs point to that answer being yes. The Eagles can release Vick at no penalty to the salary cap after ’12. Vick is set to make $12.5 million with a $1.4 million signing bonus that counts as $13.9 million against the cap, and those figures stay the same in ’13 but include a $3 million miscellaneous bonus, counting as $16.9 million overall against the cap.

That’s a lot of money to pay for a quarterback that has appeared in all 16 games in a season just once in his career. Last year, Vick missed three games due to a broken rib, but also dealt with a concussion, a hand contusion and a dislocated finger. His reckless style of play leaves him injury-prone, meaning whichever quarterback wins the backup job behind Vick will likely start a handful of games.

Vick saw his passer rating drop from 100.2 in 2010 to just 84.9 in 2011, although that’s still four points above his career average. He set a career high with 3,303 passing yards and added 589 yards on the ground, meaning he accounted for nearly 300 combined yards per game. Vick’s 14 interceptions were a career high, and his 10 fumbles was the fourth time in his career he’s fumbled double-digit times in one season. In all, it was a performance that probably makes Vick one of the top 10 to 12 quarterbacks in the league.

It all depends on if Andy Reid feels that is good enough to get the Eagles the Super Bowl championship that has eluded the team for so many years.

The Eagles did draft Nick Foles from Arizona State University with their third-round selection. Whether Reid believes Foles can be the quarterback of the future is still to be determined, but a third-round pick is awfully high for a player just expected to be a backup. Reid drafted Kevin Kolb in the second round of the 2007 draft with the expectation that he would eventually be the incumbent starter to Donovan McNabb. That move backfired (although Reid did luck out by being able to convince Arizona that Kolb was worth a second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie).

Mike Kafka has no chance of beating out Vick for the starting spot, and the way I see it now, Vick will likely be back in 2013 whether he has a good season or not simply because if not Vick, who could it be? Matt Schaub is a free agent after the year, but I think Houston will re-sign him, and I don’t think Reid wants to go with a Matt Moore or Chad Henne type of player that is a borderline starter.

The bottom line is that I don’t necessarily see Vick playing for his job in 2012 because I see him likely coming back regardless, as long as he doesn’t suffer a debilitating injury that affects the way he plays the game in the upcoming years. But a strong performance would go a long way in securing Vick's time with the Eagles.