By now, you've surely seen that Michael Vick's new six-year, $100 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles is neither, truly, a six-year deal nor a $100 million deal. It can be, sure, but it's certainly not likely to last that long or pay out that much. This is the NFL, where contracts aren't fully guaranteed and the complexities of the salary cap make it easy to twist the numbers to make them look the way you want them to look. Calling it a $100 million deal is a team concession in negotiations -- makes the player and the agent look good.
Our man Andrew Brandt has a full breakdown of the deal, and there are interesting quirks to it. For instance, the sixth year (and its $20 million salary) disappears if Vick takes at least 35 percent of the team's snaps in any of the first five years. Since that's certain to happen, the deal is really only a five-year, $80 million deal even if all of the non-guaranteed money comes in.
There are also interesting stipulations tied to Eagles team success in the first two years of the deal -- specifically, the Super Bowl. If Vick and the Eagles win the Super Bowl in either of the next two years, he gets a $3 million bonus. His 2013 salary ($16.5 million, of which only $3 million is guaranteed for injury) would drop by $500,000 for each year of the first two in which he does not reach the Super Bowl. And while he's scheduled to make (a non-guaranteed) $15.5 million in 2014, that number would go up by $500,000 if he reaches the Super Bowl in any of the deal's first three years, $1 million if he wins one of those three Super Bowls or $2.5 million if he wins at least two of them.
So the guaranteed money is only $35.5 million over the next three years -- $20 million this year, $12.5 million in 2012 and a $3 million injury guarantee in 2013. The injury guarantee becomes a full skill guarantee on the second day of waivers in 2013.
But in short, this deal includes the kinds of incentives that fans like to see. The best thing Vick can do if he wants to maximize the value of his new contract is to win the Super Bowl. By now, no one should have any illusions about what the Eagles franchise is obsessing over these days.