What Does Chip Kelly's Hire Mean for Michael Vick?

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IJanuary 16, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 30:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles sits on the bench in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The New York Giants defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-7.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles made the most shocking move of the 2013 NFL offseason Wednesday morning, hiring Oregon's Chip Kelly to be their next head coach after the two sides appeared to go separate ways earlier this month. 

ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported the news and then confirmed it via Twitter.

Eagles make it official by announcing Chip Kelly as their head coach. Owner Jeffrey Lurie gets the man he wanted all along.

— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 16, 2013

Kelly's hiring in Philadelphia now makes Michael Vick the first name on everyone's mind in Philadelphia.

While Kelly and his uptempo offense certainly makes it more likely that the Eagles bring back Vick for 2013, such a decision is far from set in stone. 

Both the money and mechanics of Vick returning would need to be worked out in a relatively short period of time. 

Vick is due $15.5 million in base salary in 2013, but $3 million of that number becomes guaranteed on Feb. 6, or three days after the Super Bowl. That leaves the Eagles less than a month to decide if Vick is worth keeping around for another season at that price. 

Unless the Eagles are clinically insane, Vick won't see any money from that deal. Instead, a contract reconstruction would have to be agreed to by both parties for Vick to be present in Philadelphia next season. It's possible that Vick would want nothing to do with such a contract altering. 

The Eagles also have the option of cutting Vick before Feb. 6 and avoiding any kind of monetary tie to the quarterback in 2013. 

A clean release remains an option, even with Kelly on board.

Vick, who turns 33 years old this June, has proven to be injury-prone at the quarterback position. Exposing Vick to more hits in a higher-tempo offense would seem to be asking a lot of the quarterback to stay healthy for a full season. In fact, it's unlikely Vick would last 16 games while running the read-option and still improvising outside the pocket on passing plays. 

Michael Vick can't stay healthy when his coach wants him to sit in the pocket. What do you think would happen in Chip Kelly's spread option?

— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) January 16, 2013

The fact that Vick has tossed 24 interceptions and fumbled a staggering 21 times over the last two seasons might also be enough for Kelly and the new-look Eagles to pass on bringing him back. 

There's also the looming and very real potential of Kelly wanting to draft his own guy in the 2013 NFL draft. 

The Eagles pick No. 4 overall next April, and a player such as West Virginia's Geno Smith or Florida State's E.J. Manuel might make more sense than paying an aging, regressing Vick a bunch of money to return. 

New head coaches usually connect their NFL success with a young quarterback, and Kelly might want to do just that in his first draft in April. With Nick Folk already in Philadelphia, there would be no reason in that scenario to keep a pricey veteran like Vick around.

Kelly's hiring was certainly a surprise, and there's little doubt that the schematic fit—at least athletically—gives Vick a slightly better chance of sticking around in Philadelphia next season.

However, there are many more factors that just Vick's ability to run, and those might carry more weight when the final decision actually has to be made.