Atlanta Falcons State Intentions to Trade Vick

daniel coxSenior Writer IFebruary 13, 2009

In December 2004, when Blank made quarterback Michael Vick the NFL's highest paid player, he said with a smile, "It should be officially understood and known now that I work for Michael Vick."

Fast forward 46 months to October 2008 and you hear Blank saying something he likely never thought he'd ever have to consider, stating that his Atlanta Falcons had "turned the page, turned the chapter and closed the book" on Vick's career in Atlanta.

Well, the last chapter hung in limbo for a little while as the organization determined how best to move on from Vick while juggling the huge demands of his record-setting contract.

Today the direction was made clearer when Falcons' general manager Thomas Dimitroff said point blank in an interview with the team's website that "With regards to Michael Vick, we’ve decided to seek a trade of his contractual rights to another NFL club."

Unlike the vague-general-manager speak that is often heard, Dimitroff has made his intentions very clear.

It's certainly a curious move from a GM that has been fairly shrewd in his dealings during his short stay with the Falcons—stating outright what he plans to do.

So, anything's possible, but is it probable? Better yet, is it even realistic?

What is probable, however, is that Vick and his cap-eating contract will not be on the books for the 2009 season.

Vick is owed roughly $45 million over the remainder of the contract through 2013. What team would be willing, let alone interested in taking on such contractual demands? Never mind that the contract falls under the umbrella of "Michael Vick, controversial figure." Also keep in mind that Vick hasn't thrown an NFL pass in two years.

If Dimitroff is able to navigate a trade for Vick, the NFL should go ahead and award him his second Executive of the Year award the moment it happens.

Consider this question: Why would a team trade for a player that they know a team will have to release? If the NFL reinstates the currently suspended Vick, Atlanta cannot afford to pay him $9 million in salary and $6.5 million in bonuses in 2009 not to play.

Releasing Vick is really the only viable option the Falcons have. And June 1st is the date that needs to be circled on the calendar.

Traditionally if a player is released before June 1st, the full remaining portion of the player's bonus counts against the team's salary that year.

If the player is released after June 1st, the bonus money set to be paid in that season will count against that season's cap, but the remaining cap impact can be deferred to the following year.

So, if Vick were cut after June 1st, he would count $7.11 million against their 2009 cap.

One thing to keep in mind that makes that figure a little less difficult to stomach is that Atlanta won the right to force Vick to pay back about $3 million in bonus money because he was on the roster the last two seasons but was unable to play. But on the other hand, people that are bankrupt are tough to collect money from.

But what makes all this really complicated is the looming expiration of the collection bargaining agreement at the end of the upcoming season. That means there's nowhere to spread the bonus money and it will all hit the Falcons' cap in 2009.

They've found themselves in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

The only thing that is now certain is that Blank was wrong back in 2004.

Vick will not be a "Falcon for life."

This article originally appeared on the Atlanta Falcons Examiner page. To view, go here