Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday August 27, 2007 9:34AM; Updated: Monday August 27, 2007 6:31PM
Onto the second of today's top three news items. It's going to be very hard for the Falcons to collect much of that bonus money they've already paid to Michael Vick. John Czarnecki of Foxsports.com first reported there was something fishy about this contract and Atlanta's attempt to get the money back. Now I've had a look at the deal, and I agree with him.
The contract, dated Dec. 24, 2004, has a signing bonus of $7.5 million included, plus roster bonuses of $22.5 million in 2005 and $7 million in 2006. That $29.5 million, I believe, is not retrievable, even if the Falcons claim either that it's just another way to pay bonus money or it was later converted to a signing bonus in what would simply have been an accounting move. Here it is, in black and white, on the Player Contract Information Form on file with the league. "Roster Bonus.'' And Vick was on the roster, of course, in both of those years. I think they're out of luck.
Now about that $7.5 million signing bonus. For cap purposes, according to the contract, the signing bonus was pro-rated over a five-year term -- 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Vick, I believe, will have to fork over the last two years because he won't be on the team in 2007 and '08. (He'll never be on the team again, but that's another story.) And so 40 percent of the $7.5 million is $3 million. That's what I believe the Falcons will be able to recover. That is, of course, if Vick is still good for it. And who knows what he's done with his money
Thirdly, supporters of Art Monk, Andre Reed, Andre Tippett and the late Derrick Thomas should be happy this morning. Their guys have a better chance to get into the Hall of Fame today than they did a week ago.
In the last four years, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has had a maximum of six slots open for entry. But in each of those years, two Seniors Committee candidates were up for entry, and seven of those eight total players have been enshrined. What that means is that only four spots were then available for modern-era candidates. Last week, the Hall announced the maximum annual class would increase from six to seven members, with this proviso: The maximum modern era class each year would be five. If either or both of the Senior candidates were not elected, no more than five of the modern guys would get in.
Cut out the gobbledygook, and this is what just happened: The backlog of worthy candidates should begin to break. As one of the selectors, I've seen a thaw in the borderline candidates, starting with the election of Harry Carson a couple of years ago. And I would be surprised if guys such as Monk, Tippett, Charles Haley and Richard Dent (and Thomas, for that matter) continued to get shut out. I'm not saying all of them will get in. They won't, at least not in the immediate future. But now at least there's a chance for a seven-man class each year.
My guess is that Monk and Tippett, of the candidates who have been on the bubble in the past few years, have the best shot of breaking through in 2008.
The Hall also has okayed increasing the number of selectors from 40 to 50, to be phased in gradually over the next few years. This year the room will have 44 voters. That's good if you think -- as many of you do -- that the limited number of voters has had too much power over the process, and more voters should cut down on the prejudices that keep some candidates from entry. Personally, I don't think it will matter much, but we'll see.
Quote of the Week I
"You are now justifiably facing consequences for the decisions you made and the conduct in which you engaged. Your career, freedom and public standing are now in the most serious jeopardy.''
-- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a letter to Michael Vick, informing him he was being banned from the game indefinitely.