Astute football fans are smart enough to know that a six-year, $100 million contract may have more holes than Sonny Corleone at a toll booth. And so the number that has gained the most traction among knowledgeable followers of football is the reported $40 million in guaranteed money.
But as pointed out during today’s PFT Live, it’s unclear how much of that amount is fully guaranteed, for injury, skill, and salary cap. And that will be an important aspect of the assessment of the deal. If half of the $40 million is guaranteed for injury only, the Eagles can avoid $20 million in supposedly guaranteed money if Vick’s performance sputters, or if he suffers a non-career-ending injury that undermines his overall skills and abilities.
Also, the total amount of the guarantee, even if it’s truly guaranteed, suggests that Vick has concerns about injury or overall ineffectiveness. Indeed, Vick already was due to earn a fully guaranteed salary of $16.2 million this year under the franchise tag. By February 2012, if Vick were to be franchised again, Vick would have been entitled to another $19.44 million in guaranteed money.
That’s $35.64 million in guaranteed money, earned only if he plays well enough over the next four months to convince the Eagles to use the franchise tag on him again.
Instead, he’s getting $40 million in guaranteed money, all of which may not be fully guaranteed, as part of a six-year commitment.
In the end, Vick apparently opted not to assume the risk of injury or ineffectiveness arising from the 2011 season. Yes, he’s making a lot of money. But he’s not as far ahead of the game as he could have been if he’d rolled the dice in 2011 and made it through the season at a level of health and performance that would have enticed the Eagles to use the franchise tag again.