Michael Vick, Nick Foles and the Eagles' next steps

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

With Michael Vick joining the Eagles on what is essentially a one-year deal, the Eagles have positioned themselves well for the future.

The Philadelphia Eagles restructured quarterback Michael Vick's contract on Monday, essentially giving the team and the player one more shot at making it work together.

But the biggest benefit of Philadelphia's new deal with the former Pro Bowler?

Flexibility.

The day the Eagles announced the hiring of head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles entered into a new era. An era without Andy Reid, who was fired after a 4-12 season -- the worst record he ever compiled as the Eagles' coach.

With Kelly on board, it's time to shake things up. Kelly will install the same fast-paced offense in Philadelphia that he had as the head coach at Oregon. At first glance, then, it seems that Kelly and Vick should be a match made in heaven. A quarterback who can throw and run is obviously a priority for Kelly.

So if Vick is successful (and healthy) in the system, then the Eagles benefit. If he doesn't, then it's going to be really easy to say goodbye.

Vick's original contract was for $80 million over five years. The club also had an option for a sixth year, which would have paid Vick $20 million in 2016. Before the new contract was signed, Vick was owed $54.2 million over the next three seasons -- not including a club option (that likely wouldn't have been picked up).

Here's the full breakdown of Vick's original contract, according to spotrac:

Vickcontract_medium

Cutting an unhealthy and aging quarterback who's owed more than $54 million is a tough pill to swallow. Cutting an unhealthy and aging quarterback who could make up to $10 million, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, won't make many general managers blink an eye.

This is what it boils down to: It's a win-win for the Eagles. Either Vick is great and the Eagles win games. Or Vick isn't and it's time to move on.

This means great things for Nick Foles, too.

At this point in time, it's an easy scenario for Foles. If he plays better than Vick and if he fits the system, he's the team's starting quarterback. Vick is cut (or benched), Foles gets to play. No mess. If Vick was still under his previous contract, Foles could play better than Vick in the pre-season and Vick could still be the starter. That's what happens when teams are tied to big contracts.

Kelly said in Monday's press conference to announce Vick's deal that the two will have an open competition, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Kelly also wouldn't say whether or not the team could trade Vick or Foles, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane. But Bleeding Green Nation doesn't necessarily believe in that notion:

I would not buy into the idea that this move was in anyway a move to make Vick more tradable. Let's not forget that Vick agreed to this extension. Why would Vick let the Eagles control his fate when he could have been a free agent by just refusing to restructure?

Skill will win out this off-season and pre-season. That's exactly what the Eagles need after their worst season since 1998.

Now the Eagles have an opportunity to build for the future. In April's NFL Draft, the Eagles could draft a quarterback (like Syracuse's Ryan Nassib) that is likely to fit the Eagles' new offensive system under Kelly. It will be Kelly's decision. It will be one of his first decisions in his tenure that could drastically shape the future of the Eagles.

Or, maybe he'll wait to see what Vick and Foles do this season and draft a quarterback next season. That's what Jason Brewer at Bleeding Green Nation thinks:

[The Vick signing] also is a strong sign that Chip Kelly doesn't see his future QB on the roster. If he though Nick Foles was the guy, then why have Vick here at all? And if he thought Vick was the guy, why only bring him back for one year? This move makes it seem likely that Chip has chosen Vick as his "holdover" QB with an eye on next year's draft, which could be stocked with athletic signal callers.

These are all benefits to Vick's new deal. But the one obvious benefit -- the one that might make Howie Roseman smile the most -- is how much money the team has to work with now.

At the very worst, the Eagles will save $6.9 million this season. And that's only if Vick makes his maximum of $10 million based on his performance. With Vick off the books for 2014, that frees up $19.4 million in cap space. For 2015, it's $17.9 million in cap space.

Before the new contract, Vick was the team's biggest cap hit in 2013. He was due a total of $16.9 million. As of right now, the Eagles have at least $21 million to work with this off-season.

Player and money flexibility -- the perfect recipe to make the Eagles a contender under Chip Kelly.

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