The Philadelphia Eagles announced that they restructured quarterback Michael Vick’s contract and he’ll remain with the team to compete for the starting job. Although the Eagles aren’t committing to Vick as the starter, he’ll at least be with the team through training camp.
It’s pretty safe to assume the Eagles will not be drafting a quarterback in the first round or try to draft a quarterback in the first round—particularly early. This move hurts the Raiders ability to trade down in the draft and takes another veteran quarterback off the market should they release Carson Palmer.
The Eagles hold the No. 4 overall pick which is right behind the Raiders. With several quarterback-needy teams drafting just behind the Eagles, the Raiders were sitting in a good position to move down for a team looking to jump the Eagles to get a quarterback. That opportunity is now gone and the Raiders only chances to trade down took a major hit.
The only player that has been traded-up to get at No. 3 overall or higher who wasn’t a quarterback over the last decade was Trent Richardson, and the Cleveland Browns only moved up one spot to get him. The likelihood that the Raiders will now be able to trade down is unlikely. The Raiders will likely have to keep their pick, which will make it difficult for Reggie McKenzie to add additional draft picks to make up for the picks the Raiders lost by trading for Palmer and Aaron Curry.
Since the Raiders will have limited picks to work with and probably will not be able to trade down, it’s even more important that they draft an impact player. Jobs could be on the line if the Raiders don’t improve drastically, which makes this offseason one of the most important for the team in a long time.
The Eagles also made sure Vick didn’t hit the open market, taking another veteran quarterback option off the table. Aside from Raiders’ CEO Amy Trask being a huge animal lover (she’s on the board of directors for Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation), Vick would be a solid quarterback to bring in if Palmer were released.
The Raiders could’ve installed an offense that fit both Vick and Terrelle Pryor, which would have been preferred to having to install two different offenses. Vick would have come significantly cheaper if he hit the open market and the Raiders wouldn’t have needed to make a long-term commitment to him.
Vick’s restructured contract also doesn’t set any kind of precedent for the Raiders with Palmer because they already added voidable years to spread out his cap hit last season. The Eagles probably used the same method the Raiders used to reduce Palmer’s cap number last season, but there were in a significantly better position to do it.
McKenzie has several tough decisions to make on overpriced players, who also happen to be some of the better ones on the roster, while simultaneously needing to add quality players. The Raiders are not at the point where they are ready to make a “run” because they aren’t even walking yet.
McKenzie had to take a step back before he could take a step forward in 2012. In 2013, McKenzie will take two steps forward and one step back. It will be 2014 before the Raiders can move forward without the influences of Al Davis and Hue Jackson.
Unless the Raiders catch a few breaks, a deep playoff run might not become a reality until 2015 or beyond. The Eagles restructuring Vick’s deal is an example of the Raiders not catching a break, and we may never know if it was the break they so desperately needed.