As folks in Philly begin to process the reality — which conveniently was slipped through the five hole during a preseason home game — that Mike Vick is the newest member of the Eagles, most people are assuming that current starting quarterback Donovan McNabb has given the deal his personal seal of approval.
According to a league source with intimate knowledge of the dynamics within the organization, McNabb isn’t pleased with the development.
But McNabb can’t say anything about it for now, due in part to the fact that the Eagles gave him a money-for-nothing contract adjustment and otherwise spent a lot of cash and first-day picks to improve the offense, at McNabb’s urging.
So things will get very interesting if the Eagles struggle in 2009, since the option for the second year of Vick’s contract will prompt speculation and/or popular opinion that the Eagles should dump Donovan and promote Vick.
While there’s no chance that Vick will supplant McNabb during the coming season absent injury, with each passing game Vick’s shadow over the next season will possibly grow.
Though there’s a chance the Eagles wanted an option for year two so that they could trade Vick in 2010 to a team that’s inclined to let him compete for the starting job, the franchise had to realize that the presence of the option year could make things very tricky, if the Eagles encounter adversity in 2009.
Think of it this way. If McNabb allowed his nose to get out of joint because the team thrived a couple of years ago under Jeff Garcia after McNabb tore an ACL, the possibility that Vick will become the most popular guy in town likely has already eaten a crater in McNabb’s colon the size of a cutlet.
There’s another big reason for McNabb to internalize any concern he might have regarding Vick’s presence. McNabb has, on multiple occasions, spoken out in support of Vick.
In May, as Vick’s term at Leavenworth neared completion, McNabb had this to say: “I am happy that Michael Vick
has served his time and will now be afforded the opportunity to move on
with his life. I’m sure he will continue to be remorseful and will
learn from his experiences. Hopefully he will have the opportunity to
continue his dream of playing professional football.”
In August 2007, after Vick was indicted but before he pleaded guilty, McNabb went out on a limb for Vick, implying that he was innocent. “I’m a supporter of Vick,” McNabb said at the time. “That’s because I’m a good friend of his and also we’re guys that
obviously compete to win the Super Bowl. We push each other. Now, I
don’t know exactly what happened in that situation, and I think for all
of us that have read over the stuff that was over the Internet, the
report, you look at it as kind of like, ‘Wow, you’ve got your so-called
friends and family members turning their back on you now to make their
situation better.’ They’re throwing you under the bus so that they can
clean their name. That’s unfortunate.”
Today, the reality is that, no matter how unfortunate McNabb views Vick’s presence on the depth chart, McNabb can’t really say or do anything about it.
UPDATE: Per Sheil Kapadia of philly.com, Dave Spadaro of the Eagles’ official web site interviewed McNabb during tonight’s game and asked not a single question about Vick. Yeah, this is gonna get good.
SECOND UPDATE: Coach Andy Reid said after Thursday night’s game that the move wasn’t a secret to McNabb — which confirms to us that he knew about it before the game, and had an opportunity to become pissed off about it, regardless of what he might have said to Reid on the subject.