Eagles Risking $3 Million By Playing Vick

The Eagles will have $3 million riding on Michael Vick’s ability to stay healthy Sunday afternoon.

We’ve discussed at length how they will owe Vick $3 million if he’s still on the roster on Feb. 6. But there’s one other scenario where they would have to pay that amount: if Vick suffers a serious injury next week against the Giants.

A source confirms that Vick has an injury guarantee of $3 million in his contract. Andrew Brandt of ESPN.com first mentioned the injury guarantee last month.

An obvious question is: What kind of injury would qualify? Basically, it would have to be an injury serious enough to prevent Vick from being healthy in 2013. Friend of the blog, Sam Lynch, pointed out the part in the CBA that has the full explanation (abbreviated explanation below):

(a) The player must have been physically unable, because of a severe football injury in an NFL game or practice, to participate in all or part of his Club’s last game of the season of injury, as certified by the Club physician following a physical examination after the last game; or the player must have undergone Club-authorized surgery in the off-season following the season of injury; and

(b) The player must have undergone whatever reasonable and customary rehabilitation treatment his Club required of him during the off-season following the season of injury; and

(c) The player must have failed the preseason physical examination given by the Club physician for the season following the season of injury because of such injury and as a result his Club must have terminated his contract for the season following the season of injury. This preseason physical may be given by the Club physician prior to the beginning of preseason camp, so long as such fact is clearly communicated in writing to the player at the time of the physical exam. The preseason physical examination given for qualification need not be the entire Standard Minimum Preseason Physical Examination, but shall be that necessary and appropriate to evaluate the injury for which the benefit is sought.

It is agreed that a player who qualifies for Injury Protection under Subsections 1 (a) and 1 (b) may be waived prior to being given a pre-season physical examination, but the waiving Club would retain Injury Protection liability unless and until the player signed a contract with and passed the physical examination of another NFL Club. In other words, a Club cannot evade Injury Protection liability by early waiving.

In short, if Vick suffers an injury Sunday, is knocked out of the game, undergoes rehab, tries to sign with a new team after being released, but fails to pass a physical, the Eagles are on the hook for the $3 million.

Considering the number of hits Vick has taken this season and how poorly the Eagles’ offensive line is playing, the front office is clearly taking a financial risk by putting him on the field Sunday.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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