The Associated Press reported earlier today that the Eagles are “strongly considering” the possibility of cutting quarterback Mike Vick.
Now, two ESPN reporters (who curiously aren’t contradicting each other) report that the Eagles deny that Vick is in jeopardy.
Said Chris Mortensen, via Twitter: “A very high-ranking Eagles source says ‘No’ on report that Eagles are seriously thinking about releasing Michael Vick.”
Adam Schefter, also via Twitter, reports on “[a]nother strong denial from another member of Eagles organization.”
Here’s our take.
First, the Eagles (like many other NFL teams) have diminished credibility on matters of this nature. In January, coach Andy Reid declared that Donovan McNabb would be the starting quarterback in 2010. Since Reid didn’t add “of the Redskins,” the reality is that Reid told something other than the truth.
Second, the Eagles — who seem to continue to believe that the NFL eventually will hand out a lifetime Lombardi Trophy based on savvy business deals — surely would prefer trading Vick to cutting him. So if they can get someone who had made an offer at which the Eagles turned up their beaks earlier this year to put the offer (or something close to it) back on the table, why not save a little face and get a little something of value?
That strategy won’t work if the Eagles fail to strongly deny a report that they’re thinking about cutting him.
Third, another tweet from Mort suggests that his source is trying to build a flimsy case to support the notion that the Eagles are keeping Vick based on circumstantial evidence relating to the $1.5 million roster bonus Vick earned in March. “By the way,” Mort writes, “Eagles went ahead and paid $1.5 million bonus to Vick late this week; they could’ve tried to drag that out.”
They could’ve tried, but they would’ve failed — miserably. As we all learned thanks to the Falcons attempt to get millions back from Vick several years ago, roster bonuses aren’t subject to forfeiture. Vick was on the roster on the fifth day of the league year, and thus he earned the bonus. Failure to pay the money when due would have created a storm of something other than snow (but with the same number of letters), since the Eagles would have been in blatant violation of Vick’s contract.
And if the Eagles had failed to do that which they are clearly required to do under the terms of Vick’s contract, the message would have been clear: they’re seriously considering cutting him.
So we think the Eagles are being coy, just like they were in January when Reid proclaimed that McNabb was going nowhere.
Hell, at least someone from the team was willing to put a name and a face to the fib the last time around.
UPDATE: The Eagles have since issued a statement denying that they are considering releasing Vick. So now it’s even more like the McNabb situation.