-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)
The Philadelphia Eagles have their quarterback. On Monday, Michael Vick signed a six-year, $100 million contract ($40 million guaranteed) with the franchise that has given him not just a second chance, but a second life.
But was it the right move for the Eagles?
The story that is Vick contains many tentacles. All signs have pointed to Vick turning a corner in his personal life. He has paid his dues — try 18 months of hard time at Leavenworth prison. He sat third-string on the bench. He has been punished publicly, financially and socially.
Is it possible to remove from Vick the saga of a major dog-fighting ring in which he was the kingpin and primary financier? Can you overlook the fact that the 31-year-old has only played a 16-game season once in his entire career? Or the shootout at the birthday party shortly after his release from prison?
The answer is no – and you shouldn’t.
In the same vein, you also can't remove the playoff victory over the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau in the 2002 NFL Wildcard shocker. Or the only 1,000-yard rushing season by a quarterback in NFL history. Or his magical 2010 return to prominence for the Eagles. Or even that he has vowed to (and apparently has/will) pay back all of his financial debts instead of taking the easy way out and filing for bankruptcy.
America is nation of second chances, and Vick is a man of exceptional ability.
The question for the Eagles is Michael Vick the man. He has returned to a life of luxury with this contract. He has been given, again, copious amounts of money, fame and fortune. And all the stresses and pressures that go along with it.
To make this contract worth it, for both the Eagles and Vick, and to continue the trajectory of his whirlwind story, the polarizing quarterback has to not only protect himself from Justin Tuck, Ndamukong Suh and Clay Matthews, but also from the trappings of a $100 millon lifestyle.
I will be the first to stand up and shake Vick's hand if he can continue down the path of redemption in a morally and socially progressive manner. And on the field? I will marvel at his ability to flick the ball 65 yards to a streaking DeSean Jackson without effort or outrun Troy Polamalu to the boundary for a key first down.
But Vick and Vick alone can make that happen.