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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vick, Manuel: Is the wrong guy guaranteed a contract?

That Eagles finally did what everybody expected them to do by putting the franchise tag on Michael Vick, presumably guaranteeing that he will be the Eagles quarterback next season (stop me if you’ve heard this before, depending on what happens with the collective bargaining agreement). On the other hand, the Philadelphia Phillies are unexpectedly taking their time to sign Charlie Manuel to an extensive his contract, which expires after the coming season.

I don’t think I’m the only one wondering if the wrong guy has been assured of coming back to Philadelphia.

An e-mailer to the Ink suggested that there was no alternative to putting the franchise tag on Vick. He rightly pointed out the outrage that Eagles fans would direct at the franchise if Vick was lining up under center for another team the next time the NFL decides to line up.

Yet, despite the constant delusions that survive in the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles aren’t poised to win a Super Bowl next year. Their defense stinks, and the last two meaningful games offered strong suggestions that teams had figured out the Eagles offense with Vick. The quarterback also turns 31 in June and was banged up plenty last season.

Call it “running quarterback fatigue” if you want, but I it would have nice to have seen Kevin Kolb was all about before this point. The man essentially got a half of football against the eventual Super Bowl Champions to prove what he could do as the starter. There’s a number of years of evidence suggesting that Vick is a great regular season quarterback who doesn’t get it done in the playoffs.

Hasn’t Philadelphia seen enough of that yet?

Then there’s the Charlie Manuel situation. The Phils manager is quoted in today’s Inquirer saying, “Once the season starts, I don't want to talk about my contract.” Writer Matt Gelb called it a “terse” statement after “the manager was asked – in jest – if he would impose a deadline for a new deal, a la Albert Pujols, the St. Louis superstar free-agent-to-be.”

Okaaay.

I don’t want to over dramatize what is likely a nothing comment, and all indications are that the deal gets done. But the fact that the situation has gotten to the point of Manuel sorta-kinda putting a deadline on the negotiations begs the question, what’s the problem?

The article and other outlets suggest Manuel wants a bump in salary from $2.4 million to $4 million, commiserate with the highest paid managers in baseball.

I repeat, what’s the problem? Pay him. He’s a year removed from taking the Phillies to consecutive World Series, is beloved by the players by all accounts (which includes seeing Cliff Lee come back to the Phillies as a free agent after being traded), and has a team favored to win another World Series.

Another scary thought in this situation is that the Phillies let highly-regarded first base coach Davey Lopes go over hundreds of thousands of dollars – chump change in professional sports.

We’re used to the Eagles creating ridiculous distractions that linger and ultimately destroy their season. We can only hope the Phillies haven’t been taking notes.

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