Falcons QB Vick’s Transgressions Could be Costly

A protest against dog fighting

As the saying goes, “Crime does not pay”.  In Falcons quarterback Michael Vick’s case, you can also add, “The Falcons, NFL, and corporate sponsors giveth and they also will take away”, so to speak.  According to Gary Myers of The New York Daily News, Vick’s role in the illegal dogfighting scandal could cost him upwards of $100 million in present and future earnings.  This doesn’t include the major blow to his reputation and image.  Here’s the breakdown on his losses:

  • $71 million in base salary (remainder of his current Falcons contract)
  • $25 million in bonus repayment to the team
  • $3-5 million in endorsement income annually.

Now the specifics:

  • Default language in Vick’s contract allows the Falcons to recoup any and all signing bonuses agreed upon; it allows the team to recoup a prorated share should Vick be suspended by the league for violating any of the NFL’s policies (Substance Abuse, Steroids, Personal Conduct).
  • Vick voided the last year of his contract in 2014 at $17 million after reaching the 45% playing time threshold, in essence leaving $71 million in non-guaranteed money on the table for the years 2007-2013.

You can safely assume that the Falcons will cut Vick; as of right now, the team is restraining themselves, per the league commisioner’s orders.  The league wants to thoroughly digest all information they have at their disposal before rendering punishment on Vick.  What this closure will do is eliminate roughly $6 million from the team’s books, giving them some breathing room salary cap-wise.  The Falcons, with that salary cap relief in hand, have a couple options:  they could sign a “franchise QB”; the problem with that is that very few, if any, are available in the open market.  They can also get a very high draft pick, assuming they have a bad season (which more than likely will happen).

Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino secretly must be drooling over the prospect of possibly drafting a QB who he is very familiar with, University of Louisville QB Brian Brohm.  I don’t think it is a big secret that the Vick developments have hastened the Falcons need for a QB who will lead the team in the near future.  Brohm may or may not be the guy who leads the Falcons out of the current mess they’re in.  After all – would you entrust your team’s fortunes on Joey Harrington or Chris Redman?  I sure in heck wouldn’t.

Last night, I watched BEST DAMN SPORTS SHOW on FSN Bay Area and the topic of Michael Vick was brought up.  The question that was debated between Chris Rose, Rodney Peete, Rob Dibble, guest host John Calipari and regular John Salley was this: should Michael Vick get a second chance in the NFL?”  While Rose and Calipari added little to the debate, Salley stated that by the United States of America being a nation of “second chances”, Vick should get another shot at the NFL.  Peete, on the other hand, fired back by saying that Vick, by the severity of his actions, has little or no chance of ever returning to the league.

Also brought up briefly was in the unlikely (in my view anyways) event that Vick was allowed back into the league, it would be as a “Kordell Stewart clone” – meaning a WR/QB clone.  IT was also suggested that some NFL owner would be desperate enough to sign Vick to a contract, albeit at a much lower salary than he was accustomed to in the past.  My take is this:  Vick, after he serves his prison time and his suspension, will probably play football again.  The thing is – it will not be in the NFL.  I would venture to think that the league owners because of this incident, will be a little more gun-shy about signing Vick to any contract.  They obviously do not want the negative publicity or the baggage that Vick carries with him.

Vick is expected to plead guilty on the dogfighting charges in Richmond, VA fairly soon; a sentencing date has not yet been set.  Assuming Vick receives the expected 12-18 month prison sentence and the one year league suspension, he can expect to re-enter the league around 2010 or so.  It is unfathomable to me how someone as talented as Vick could let all of this slip through his fingers, all because he wanted to “keep it real”.  His upbringing and his chosen lifestyle have finally caught up to him and now he’s paying for it (both literally and financially).

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