Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has only started and completed four games this season, but he should still be in the conversation for the league's MVP award. Even the prolific Patriots quarterback Tom Brady marveled at Vick's performance against the Washington Redskins on Monday. And I think Vick could show up in the top five of Mike Sando's weekly MVP Watch on ESPN.com.
Ashley Fox, who loves a good nine-part newspaper series, wonders what Vick's demands will be for a contract in light of Donovan McNabb's new deal:
"He was the best anyone has seen this season and continued to build his case that not only is he the NFL's most valuable player -- but he is deserving of a big contract extension from the Eagles," writes Fox. "If Donovan McNabb is worthy of a five-year, $78 million deal that reportedly included significant guaranteed money, what is Vick, who is three years younger, worth? Ninety million? A hundred million? More?"
Here's the part where I have to remind folks that Vick has a lot more baggage than other star quarterbacks around the league. And he's admitted his willingness to give the Eagles a "hometown" discount since they were the ones who took a chance on him. Here's what Vick himself said during his weekly appearance on ESPN 94.1 in Virginia Beach, Va., when asked if he was talking to the Eagles about a contract extension:
"Not yet," he said per Les Bowen of the Daily News. "We haven't started any negotiations. We are just taking it one week at a time. If it's going to happen, it will happen. I don't think it will take long when negotiations do start, if they ever start. I know the most important thing is to go out and win the next football game. Keep piling up wins and keep doing what's best for this football team.
"I'm happy here. After playing with the type of talent I play with, having the coaches that I have now, and being here for two years, of course, you get comfortable, and after having success, you look down the road for the long haul and see what we can accomplish. I think the future is definitely bright for this team, and I wouldn't mind being a part of it."
Vick's playing like a quarterback who deserves an enormous contract, but he also exposes himself to more injuries than most players at his position. The Eagles, though, are very proactive when it comes to contract negotiations. It wouldn't surprise me if general manager Howie Roseman and Vick's agent, Joel Segal, were already having some informal discussions.
I think Vick wants to remain with the Eagles, and I think Andy Reid wants the same thing. But what will the Eagles do about homegrown quarterback Kevin Kolb, another Reid favorite? For now, he's simply a nice insurance policy. And if Vick continues to flourish, the Eagles will look to trade Kolb.
The Eagles will sit back and enjoy the Michael Vick Experience for now. But at some point, they'll have to write the man a pretty large check. I'd say $30-40 million in guaranteed money is a good place to start for a legitimate MVP candidate who appears to be in the prime of his career.