NFL news roundup: Percy Harvin trade rumors, Michael Vick back

Rich Schultz

Monday proved to be busy in the NFL, as Michael Vick restructured his contract, the Buffalo Bills released two key members of their defense, while Percy Harvin trade rumors continue to circulate.

The 2013 NFL offseason is just a week old, but teams throughout the league are already making major moves, as the league's salary cap deadline is just over a month away.

Monday's biggest news came out of Philadelphia, as the Eagles saved cap space and found their 2013 starting quarterback, as Michael Vick agreed to restructure his contract to remain with the Eagles. Vick can still earn up to $10 million dollars with the new contract.

Many believed that the Eagles would end up releasing Vick, but then the team surprisingly hired Chip Kelly away from Oregon -- weeks after Kelly decided to stay at the college level. Though Kelly contends that his offense will be personnel-based, a mobile quarterback, such as Vick, seems much more suited to run it rather than Nick Foles.

Still, Kelly will hold a quarterback competition during the offseason. Eagles fans over at Bleeding Green Nation, SB Nation's Eagles blog, wonder how much of a quarterback competition it truly is -- and wonder if Foles will be given a fair chance to win the quarterback job.

The general reaction to the news that Vick would be back was that he must fit Kelly's system better, but that begs an important question. How is it an open competition if you have Foles trying to run a read option offense? And if you run different plays for Foles, how do you evaluate one against the other? Chip says it would be wrong to assume that the offense will have to be two different systems for two different QBs.

It's unlikely that the Eagles would bother restructuring Vick's contract if they didn't believe he was best-suited to run Kelly's offense. Expect Vick to win the quarterback "competition" this summer.

With Vick off the table, quarterback-hungry teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns will have to look elsewhere to remedy quarterback issues. Consequently, Alex Smith's stock will rise, and the 49ers have a bit more leverage in trade talks regarding the backup quarterback. Similarly, Matt Flynn's stock goes up a tick, as the Seahawks will almost certainly look to trade him to a quarterback-needing team -- with the New York Jets being the logical landing spot for Flynn, as John Idzik, New York's general manager, was with Seattle last season when the Seahawks signed Flynn.

Free agent quarterbacks such as Matt Moore, Jason Campbell and Tarvaris Jackson also see their stock go up with Vick remaining in Philadelphia. If the Oakland Raiders decide to part ways with Carson Palmer, who has a $13 million base salary for 2013, then Palmer could become the biggest winner out of the Vick deal, as teams would undoubtedly rather roll the dice on Palmer than Campbell or Jackson.


Rumors continue to circulate throughout Minnesota that the Vikings are going to trade star wide receiver Percy Harvin -- even though wide receiver is one of Minnesota's biggest team needs even with Harvin on the roster.

Harvin apparently intends to hold out of all offseason activities and training camp if he doesn't receive a new deal with the Vikings.

Ted Glover of Daily Norseman, SB Nation's Vikings blog, believes that the Vikings are now in a no-win situation with Harvin.

This thing seems to be deteriorating fast, and if reports of him holding out until he gets a new deal done are, in fact, accurate, the Vikings are in a no-win situation. If they cave and re-do a deal, well, for a guy like Harvin that's just a blank check to be an ass until you get your way on everything. If they don't and he does hold out, the Vikings will have a HIUGE distraction that will need to be dealt with buy either the aforementioned cave-in, or by trading him.

And if the Vikings really are actively trying to trade him, that task might have just become next to impossible, and there's no way the team will get anything close to equal value in return.

There will always be a market for players as talented as Harvin, but unfortunately for the Vikings, this year's free agent class of wide receivers is fairly rich. Wes Welker, Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings and Danny Amendola are among the unrestricted free agents available, while Victor Cruz and Emmanuel Sanders are ticketed for restricted free agency.

With Harvin entering a contract year, it's extremely unlikely that the Vikings would be able to net themselves a first-round draft pick in return for Harvin. Teams unwilling to spend on a free agent wide receiver could roll the dice with a second-round and later-round pick for Harvin, and deal with his contract later. The Patriots, Rams, 49ers, Dolphins and Chargers could be among the teams interested in Harvin's services.

If the reports are indeed true that Harvin lashed out against Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier, and he's now already threatening to holdout, then the Vikings would be well-served netting a few draft picks for Harvin -- even if it means Minnesota's offense takes a short-term hit in 2013.

In a pair of surprising moves, the Buffalo Bills parted ways with linebacker Nick Barnett and safety George Wilson, in an effort to save cap space headed into the 2013 offseason. With the two releases, the Bills saved roughly $6.5 million dollars of cap space for 2013.

The moves came as a bit of a surprise, especially since Barnett graded out as one of the best 4-3 linebackers in the NFL last season. Per Pro Football Focus, Barnett would have been the third-best 4-3 linebacker in the league -- if Buffalo's two games against New England were subtracted.

Brian Guilford of Buffalo Rumblings, SB Nation's Bills blog, knows that Buffalo is aiming to get younger, but points out that the team is now "woefully inexperienced" at the linebacker position.
Still, the Bills are now woefully inexperienced at linebacker, and it's a pretty safe bet at this point that the team will need to make radical personnel changes at the position this off-season. Bart Scott, who has spent his entire 11-year playing career working with Rex Ryan (and by extension Pettine), is expected to be released this off-season - and while he has publicly claimed that he'd take a pay cut to stay with Ryan in New York, it's hard not to envision a scenario where Pettine wouldn't jump at the chance to bring Scott in to help teach the system.

Though Scott might not have as much left in the tank as Barnett has, he still knows new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's system, and would provide much-needed experience at the position.

Even if the Bills sign Scott, the team will be relatively weak at linebacker, barring a major move. There's a lot of offseason left to go, and what the Bills do with the extra cap space will dictate whether or not releasing Barnett and Wilson were good moves.


The Bills weren't the only New York team making moves on Monday. The New York Giants announced that they have re-signed Terrell Thomas, who missed the last two seasons after tearing his ACL in consecutive summers.

Thomas, a former a second-round draft pick out of USC, may have to move from cornerback to safety. Switching positions likely doesn't matter too much to Thomas, who is just happy to have another opportunity in the NFL.

Ed Valentine over at Big Blue View doesn't believe that Thomas can be counted on, but does find Thomas incredibly easy to root for -- a sentiment most Giants fans share.

Thomas was injured two seasons ago during an exhibition game against the Chicago Bears. Last season he was injured early in training camp when he slipped on a grass field at UAlbany.

Truthfully, it's hard to count on Thomas becoming a productive player for the Giants again. It is, however, easy to root for him as he tries.

Thomas signed a new contract last year, prior to tearing his ACL again, and was due a roster bonus of $6 million in March. That $6 million bonus won't be seen, however, and the Giants likely saved a significant amount of cap space by signing Thomas to a new contract. After releasing Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty last week, it comes as no surprise to see the Giants continue to save cap space.

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