The Philadelphia Eagles plan to use the franchise tag on quarterback Michael Vick and listen to trade offers for backup Kevin Kolb, according to a report, confirming two moves that have long been expected.
It has long been reported that franchising Vick was not only likely but necessary to keep the Pro Bowl quarterback in Philadelphia. ESPN cited a “league source” in reporting Sunday that Vick will be franchised, indicating that the team has definitively decided to bring the quarterback back in 2011.
On Sunday night, a league source confirmed the report to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In theory, Vick could have hit the free-agent market once a new collective bargaining agreement was signed, though there has never been any indication that the Eagles would let Vick walk.
Never miss a local story.
ESPN also said the Eagles will listen to trade offers for Kolb but did not cite a source. With Vick widely expected to return, the logical move for the Eagles is to at least listen to offers for Kolb.
Asked about the accuracy of the report on both Vick and Kolb, the team had no comment. Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, did not respond to a request for comment.
To keep Vick from free agency, the Eagles would have to use the franchise tag, at least temporarily, a league source told the Inquirer. Because Vick hit contract incentives in 2010 that pushed his salary above 30 percent of his 2009 pay, the Eagles can’t extend his deal.
The limit is part of contract rules in place because of the NFL’s expiring CBA. Even if the Eagles eventually want to offer a long-term contract, they have to use the franchise tag first.
NFL officials said last week that they expect a franchise tag – or some similar mechanism for keeping star players – to remain in place even though the current labor deal ends March 3. The franchise tag allows teams to prevent a player from reaching free agency and requires that the team pay the average of the top five salaries at that position.
Kolb, with a relatively low quarterback salary of $1.4 million next season, could be attractive to other teams. Kolb has previously said he wants to be a starter next season, which would mean finding a new team.
BEARS OFFICIAL DIES
Tim McCaskey, a Chicago Bears vice president and the second-oldest of team matriarch Virginia and Ed McCaskey’s 11 children, has died.
The Bears announced his death Sunday night.
The 65-year-old McCaskey had battled cancer for 17 months.
In a statement, the McCaskey family said he was “as passionate, loyal, critical, analytical, committed and devoted a Bears fan as there ever was.”
Tim McCaskey became a Bears vice president in 1993.