Eagles Make Michael Vick, David Akers a Tag Team

Written By Bob Cunningham On Tuesday, February 15, 2011
As expected, the Philadelphia Eagles have decided to place the franchise tag on quarterback Michael Vick.

Rules of the franchise tag say that Vick will be given a one-year contract -- 100 percent guaranteed -- that will pay him the average of the top five highest-paid quarterbacks in the league.

Once Peyton Manning signs his monster extension and brings that average up a little bit, my guess is that Vick will make somewhere in the area of $15-18 million next season.

In an unexpected move, the Eagles also exercised their right under the rules of an uncapped season and slapped the transition tag on kicker David Akers.

In most seasons, they would have a choice of one or the other, but since there is still no salary cap they're free to use both -- for the time being. Once a new CBA is agreed upon, it's very likely that it will include the "one or the other" rule, so Akers' transition tag could become void at that point.

A quick digression to explain the difference of the franchise and the transition tag:

The franchise tag guarantees the tagged player a one-year guaranteed deal to pay them the average of the top five highest-paid players at their position. The transition tag serves the same function, but takes average of top 10 highest-paid players at the tagged player's position.

Other teams may negotiate with tagged players, but the team retains the right to match any offer. If a franchise-tagged player decides to sign elsewhere, the signing team must give up two first-round picks.

So, for instance, if the 49ers decided to sign Vick to a mega-deal that he could not turn down and the Eagles did not want to match, the 49ers could take Vick but would owe the Eagles their next two first-round picks.

The transition tag simply allows the team the right to match any offer. Should the tagged player decide to sign elsewhere, the team gets no compensation.

So, for instance, if the 49ers (I can't think of a kicker-needy team off the top of my head, so will stick with San Francisco) wanted to sign Akers, all they would have to do is out-bid the Eagles and he's theirs.

And we're back.

Even though both players have been tagged, I still expect both to get extensions. Vick is almost guaranteed to have a long-term deal signed before the start of the season but, while my expectation is Akers gets extended as well, his deal is likely at the bottom of their priority list.

Tagging both players is likely just a way to be safe and make sure neither is able to hit the free agent market.

"Michael Vick and David Akers were two of our most valuable players last year," said head coach Andy Reid in a statement released by the team. "They were well deserving of their Pro Bowl berths and we're happy to take this step to ensure that they’ll be back in Philadelphia next season."

UPDATE: While the explanation of franchise v. transition tags were correct, it was not correct in Vick's situation. Eagles placed "exclusive" franchise tag on Vick, meaning teams cannot talk to him.

Peyton Manning received the same tag, but all other players tagged thus far (Haloti Ngata, Logan Mankins, Vincent Jackson, etc.) have received "non-exclusive" tag, meaning other teams can negotiate a deal if they are willing to give up two first-round picks.

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