It was Vick's new vintage.
Calm and candid, Mike leveled with the mob of less composed reporters.
"It's no difference (sic)," he said, comparing his career's two $100 million deals. "It's a lot of money however you look at it."
Though, if you look closely, it's less. Pro Football Talk went all gumshoe, holding a magnifier to the fine print to reveal its quirks. Among others—the deal is curiously front-loaded, paying $20 million in 2011, sinking to $12 million in 2012 and settling at $15.5 million thereafter—pulling back the wrinkles show that the sixth year of the deal is voidable if Vick takes 35 percent of snaps in any of the first five years.
So, semantics aside, the deal is for five years and worth $80 million ($35.5 million guaranteed).
Forget the how; this is all about the why.
Why waste paper and legal fees for the sake of a number? Why roll in a hollow sixth year Vick won't see (assuming the Eagles wouldn't cough up the full worth of a deal less than half-earned)?
Are you encouraged about how Vick's off-field initiative might translate into on-field results?
Apparently for appearance.
"I specifically asked (Eagles president Joe Banner) whether...that number was important," ESPN's Sal Paolantonio Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic Tuesday. "He said it was important to Vick and Joel Segal, his agent. That they really wanted to have the second $100 million contract."
A move like that has only one of two motives:
It could be about ego. About Vick stiff-arming the mouths of his haters shut. And ammo like the third-biggest deal—more than both Tom Brady (signed four-year, $72 million extension in Sept. 2010) and Peyton Manning (signed five-year, $90 million extension this month)—among the most lucrative (and historically whitest) position in American sports would be enough fuel even the most spiteful motor.
Doing it twice, more powder than first-century China.
And so out of context, in a vacuum, it's possible.
But what about the subliminals? What about the underlying message? Maybe the significance of the dollar amount was its significance. Maybe it was the gumption of a ninth digit. Of being football's Josh Hamilton. Of being paid like its Alex Rodriguez (twice).
Any less would've set the example, the one Vick pushed for as hard as he wished Danny Watkins did defensive tackles.
"Money aside, it's not even about that," said Rev. Vick, preaching to America's most malleable minds. "Kids have the opportunity to see that you should never count yourself out. But at the same time, don't put yourself in a position where you gotta make a miraculous comeback."
But why skimp? With so much on the line—it's a direct aside to troubled kids, after all—why not be striking? Why not go for the most money? Why not wide-eye unforgettably?
Why not prop the redemption narrative on the highest pedestal possible?
Maybe that impression needed $100 million. Not a penny less. Maybe that impression needed clauses hollower than his predecessor's.
Why that matters to you, the fan? Because it matters to Vick.
It matters that he's trusted to carry himself like a franchise quarterback he wasn't in Atlanta.
What are your expectations for Vick's second $100 million deal?
"Be appreciative of what you have, and don't take anything for granted," he said. "I did that at one point, when I had the big contract in Atlanta."
It matters not that he given a second chance. That he gets the same chance to make due on promises like these:
"I won't change."
"(The contract) makes me wanna work harder, to show that I'm worthy of everything that I'm getting."
"I don't feel my career would be complete without (winning a Super Bowl)."
Social agenda or not: You'll take those results, Philly fan.
Won't you settle for his best effort, even if it's for the kids more than you? For what critics say McNabb never gave to anybody? Exertion to the brink and beyond? Without excuses?
Even if Vick's best isn't enough?
Remember: There are no promises here. Vick could get hurt, figured out or both.
But who can't? Who doesn't?
This is about control. That's your only concern: that Vick poise himself for a deep playoff charge. And right now, Vick's handling his end of the business—and its subsidiaries (the kids).
At the least, the fanbase will be thrilled.
At Vick's best, people will be moved.
Maybe that sixth year isn't so empty after all.