Michael Vick Still Not Necessarily the Favorite to Start for Philadelphia Eagles

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistFebruary 11, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles prior to a game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The fact that Michael Vick is returning to Philadelphia after agreeing to a restructured one-year contract with the team doesn't mean we should assume the 32-year-old will be locked in as the team's starter in 2013. 

In fact, that the deal—worth a reported $10 million—is also reportedly loaded with incentives indicates that the key idea to re-signing Vick this winter was for the Eagles to bide time.

If they spend the offseason with Vick and Nick Foles and come to the conclusion that Vick can succeed and has earned the starting job, the Eagles can pay him and keep him, and it'll have been worth it.

If they spend the offseason with said quarterbacks and realize that Foles is the better, cheaper option or that there's someone else (Geno Smith? Alex Smith? Matt Flynn? Dennis Dixon?) who has emerged, they can trade Vick and his more manageable contract to a desperate team or cut him loose and save some cash.

That's why Kelly insisted in Monday's press conference that this will be an open competition while also refusing to rule out the trade route for either player. 

None of this would have been possible had Vick not become more flexible. Ultimately, Kelly's intriguing offense was surely a factor in his decision to restructure, but ESPN's Andrew Brandt also points out that it's likely he and his agent were reacting to a lackluster free-agent landscape

I guess the point is that nobody's a superhero here. Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman are doing what's best for the team, taking a wise, prudent step instead of going overboard in an attempt to retool, while Vick is just doing what makes sense for him.

The market and the circumstances dictated this scenario, which essentially means that the stars aligned in the right way for an organization that has seemingly been snakebit for two years running. If you're an Eagles fan, that alone is reason to feel at least slightly optimistic.