Mike Vick's successful return to quarterback stardom was one of the great stories of 2010, and the Eagles reaped the benefits.
Now, unfortunately, the Eagles are finding that some fairy tales have ugly endings. They could be dealing with the repercussions for years.
Let's take a look at some statistics. In 2010, Vick started 11 regular season games, in which the Eagles went 8-3.
Vick set career highs in passer rating, passing yards, passing touchdowns, completion percentage, yards per attempt and rushing touchdowns. He also threw the fewest number of interceptions in any season in which he played at least 11 games.
After the Vick-led Eagles came closer than any other NFC team to beating the eventual champion Packers in the playoffs, the Eagles rewarded the quarterback with a six-year, $100 million contract.
Fast forward to Week 10 of the 2011 season. The bloom has officially come off the rose.
Including that playoff loss to Green Bay, the Eagles are 3-9 in their last 12 games. Every one of Vick's major stats has dropped since last season.
Perhaps most importantly, Vick has reverted to his turnover-heavy ways. His nine interceptions this season are far more in line with his career numbers, and he's fumbled the ball eight times already.
Indicative of Vick's inability to perform well under pressure is the fact that in the five games in which the Eagles have blown fourth quarter leads, they've scored a mere three points in the fourth quarter.
Were the Eagles smart to lock up Mike Vick long-term?
This should all come as no surprise to the Eagles. At no point in his six-year Falcons career did Vick show he was capable of playing at the level he played in 2010. He has never been accurate enough, or careful enough with the football, to carry a team to a Super Bowl.
Is it fair to pin the Eagles' woeful performance solely on Vick? No. The revamped defense has looked terrible for much of the year, and the offensive line took several games to gel.
But ultimately, the Eagles need to recognize that their potential with Vick at the helm is limited, and that they have a short window of opportunity with a very talented team.
As a result, if the Eagles find themselves in a position to select Matt Barkley, Landry Jones or in a very unlikely scenario Andrew Luck in what should be a very strong quarterback draft class, they should look to trade Vick.
Vick still has plenty of quality years left and would certainly command a large haul from a team willing to gamble on his world-class athletic ability and in need of an upgrade at quarterback—the Niners come to mind as a team that might view Vick as the final piece to a Super Bowl team.
The Eagles, meanwhile, would use their own high pick on a young franchise quarterback that they could immediately surround with an elite collection of talent on offense. They would also pick up additional draft picks or players from a trade partner, which they could use to shore up positions of need, like safety or offensive line.
The Philadelphia sports talk circuit is full of pundits suggesting that head coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo need to go. If the Eagles want to capitalize on a super-talented roster, Vick should be the one headed out the door.