Two Eagles players were tagged with guaranteed contracts to keep them with the team through next season. Wednesday, Michael Vick signed his franchise tender, while David Akers indicated he would turn down his transition tag.
Vick signing his estimated $16- to $20-million one-year contract isn't surprising. He has expressed on multiple occasions his desire to stay with the Eagles, and the franchise tag seems like only an intermediate step before he and the team work out a long-term contract extension.
Team President Joe Banner said recently,
"We wouldn't be sitting here and putting a franchise tag on him if he's somebody that we weren't very excited about."
By assigning the franchise tag to Vick, the Eagles will pay him the average of the top five players at his position -- money that will certainly help the quarterback as he extricates himself from his bankruptcy requirements. The tag also prevented any other teams from even trying to talk to Vick during free agency.
During the current labor talks, the NFL Players Association has argued that the tags are invalid if the collective bargaining agreement expires on Thursday. That's the argument Akers' agent Jerrold Colton made when he said the kicker would not sign the approximately $3 million dollar offer sheet. Colton has suggested that his client is "disappointed" with the tag, even though he still wants to return to the Eagles on a multi-year deal.
However, it's unclear what, if any, leverage Akers has in negotiations. His transition tag allows him to talk with other NFL teams (with the Eagles having the power to match any offer), but is any team willing to spend top dollar on an aging player who's no longer an elite kicker?
Other Eagles offered tenders include restricted free agents LB Stewart Bradley, G Max Jean-Gilles and CB Dimitri Patterson and exclusive rights free agent RB Eldra Buckley.