Is This the End of the Michael Vick Era as Philadelphia Eagles Starting QB?

Zach KruseSenior Analyst INovember 12, 2012

November 11, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) passes the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 38-23. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

If one report on the playing status of Michael Vick is correct, then we have almost certainly seen the last of the veteran as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles

Citing two different sources, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported Monday that Eagles head coach Andy Reid is likely to "rest" Vick for the rest of the 2012 season, while also starting the transition to the next era at quarterback with rookie Nick Foles. 

From one of Cole's sources:

I'm 99 percent sure that's exactly what you're going to see happen. Andy is going to go to [owner] Jeff [Lurie] and [general manager] Howie [Roseman] and say, 'Let's go with Foles and make the transition to the next era.'

If that turns out to be Reid's plan, Vick will have played his last game as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. It would end on a low note too. 

Vick left Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys after suffering a concussion in the first half, which allowed Reid the opportunity to give Foles—a quarterback fans have been clamoring for since the beginning of the Eagles' five-game losing streak—the opportunity to get significant snaps. 

The results were mixed.

Foles completed 22 of 32 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown. However, his lone interception was returned for a touchdown, and he was stripped in the end zone for another defensive score for the Cowboys. Holders of a 17-10 lead in the third quarter after Foles found Jeremy Maclin for a 44-yard touchdown in the third quarter, Philadelphia lost 38-23 to fall to 3-6. 

The injury news on Vick wasn't good, at least in the short term. 

Reid also said Monday that Vick had suffered a "significant concussion," according to the Associated Press (via ESPN). 

He was a little foggy last night. Mike has a headache is what he's got—a pretty good one. He's tired. One of the things that is important is that he gets rest...We're in communication until further testing takes place.

Concussions have cost players significant chunks of various seasons, but the Eagles likely don't know enough right now about Vick's particular concussion to make a diagnosis that he would need to sit the entire season. 

However, as Cole's sources claim, the injury gives Reid an out for playing Foles and potentially delaying any firing from his position as head coach. A development phase could be Reid's last selling point to stick around. 

The writing has been on the wall for Vick to be replaced as the starter, however, despite Reid holding strong that the 32-year-old was his quarterback. 

Vick has been criticized throughout this season for his costly habit of turning the football over. In nine games, Vick has thrown nine interceptions and lost seven fumbles, and the Eagles rank near the bottom of the NFL in turnover margin.

More importantly, the giveaways helped ruin a 3-1 start, as the Eagles have now lost five straight games to put any playoff hopes in serious jeopardy. Missing out on the playoffs would be likely be the final chapter for Vick.

Back in October, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Eagles would likely sever ties with Vick after this season if Philadelphia was unable to make the postseason. 

Pro Football Talk later built on that report, stating that the Eagles have until three days after the Super Bowl to cut Vick and save themselves millions of dollars owed to Vick over the 2013 season.

The Eagles signed Vick to a five-year, $100 million deal in the summer of 2011, and he'd be owed $16 million over the course of 2013. That's an astronomical amount for even a high-performing player, much less one who played poorly and then was sat for the last seven games of a given season. 

Certainly, if Reid decided on Foles for the rest of the season, it would be the clearest sign yet that Vick's time in Philadelphia has run its course. 

Potentially, and somewhat ironically, Vick's only hope of staying in Philadelphia in this scenario could be the firing of Reid and the hiring of a coach who is willing to give Vick another shot at winning and holding the job. However, that possibility seems unlikely. 

If Cole's sources are correct, and Reid is planning on giving Foles the reins of this dying football team over the last seven games, Michael Vick's time as the Eagles starting quarterback would officially, and somewhat somberly, come to an end.