With the news that Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick received the team’s franchise tag designation, that leaves the future of QB Kevin Kolb up in the air.
A team source confirmed Vick received the exclusive tag, which means Vick will not be able to sign a contract with another team. Vick, who turns 31 in June, will receive minimum average of the top-five salaries at the quarterback position of the current year (usually around mid-April) or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. And once he signs the franchise tender, the entire salary becomes guaranteed. The non-exclusive franchise number for quarterbacks for the 2010 season was $16.405 million. The highest-paid quarterback on an average per year basis is Tom Brady at $18.007 million. It's expected that when Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning signs his new deal with the team, his contract could eclipse $20 million per season.
It’s expected that once the new collective bargaining agreement between the players and owners is signed, the Eagles will push to get Vick signed to a long-term deal. However, because of his injury and off-the-field history, the team will have to agree to a deal which protects them in case there are more issues. But Vick seemingly has put the off-the-field problems behind him in the past year.
Kolb, who turns 27 in August, is signed through the 2011 season with a fully guaranteed base salary of $1.392 million—a total which is quite palatable to handle for the projected backup quarterback for the team. But because of the dearth of quality starting quarterbacks in the NFL, league sources believe the Eagles will wind up looking to move Kolb, because his value will be very high to other teams around the league. Possible suitors include the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans. The only real issue that could prevent them trading Kolb is if the projected lockout of the players because of a lack of a new CBA extends into July/August.
In other franchise tag news, the New York Jets, as expected, used their non-exclusive tag on ILB David Harris. The franchise number for linebackers for the 2010 season was $9.680 million.
Harris has become one of the best players at his position in the NFL. And he’s an integral part of the Jets’ 3-4 defensive scheme, so look for the team to try to sign him to a long-term deal.
But signing Harris to a long-term deal won’t be easy because the Jets have several other key free agents to re-sign.