x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Focus on keeping Vick and Kolb at Eagles' lair

If a football genie granted Andy Reid, the Philadelphia Eagles coach, three wishes for next season, he already has spent one of them on the desired fate of quarterbacks Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb.

If a football genie granted Andy Reid, the Philadelphia Eagles coach, three wishes for next season, he already has spent one of them on the desired fate of quarterbacks Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb.

"Listen, I'd love to have them [both] back," Reid said. "They are tremendous players."

Good luck with that.

Vick is that rare bird - indeed, he has been a Falcon and an Eagle - who shifts within weeks from being an MVP candidate to possibly being a long-term risk.

His gifts are abundantly apparent. But in a league where success can hinge on keeping your quarterback out of harm's way and free of injury, the path that Vick takes during games might as well be called Harm's Way. As opposed to the Easy Street or High Road favoured by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and others.

Vick exits the relative safety of the passing pocket to make plays. Defences make him pay with hits that can cause his throwing (and decision-making) to erode.

The Eagles may retain Vick, a free agent, by applying the "franchise" tag, which would mean a salary of up to US$16 million (Dh58.8m) but only a one-year commitment, while paying Kolb a reasonable $1.4m. That would buy Philly another season to decide if this arrangement works.

Except that Kolb wants no part of it. "I want to be starting somewhere," he said.

If Vick stays put, Kolb can borrow a leftover wish from Reid and apply it to a trade request.

The football genie might be busy in Philadelphia this off-season.