LANDOVER, Md. - So how much do you think he's worth now?
How much is Michael Vick worth today as compared to last spring, when the Eagles could not trade him and would not release him?
When many of us begged for one or the other?
How much is he worth compared to last summer, when Kevin Kolb was the heir apparent and Vick was still considered a dubious gimmick?
Vick ran for 80 yards in last night's stunning, 59-28 victory over the Washington Redskins. He passed for 333 yards. A good chunk of the gaudy point total was generated by him almost single-handedly, certainly in a way that separated his value from virtually every other quarterback in the league, including Donovan McNabb and yes, including Kolb.
He was you playing Madden against your golden retriever, with a pile of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies clearly visible on the other side of the room.
Never has an offense in midnight green looked this lethal, this hard to defend. Not even when McNabb was a younger, fleeter man and Terrell Owens was an Eagle. That was the Redskins' defense against whom Vick put up 45 first-half points, a defense that had allowed fewer points (170) than any team in the division, a defense that was the real reason Washington launched a better-than-expected start this season.
Last night? Seems they did not expect Vick to run with the ball. Any time a situation became the least bit uneasy, there he was oozing through this guy in the backfield, juking that one in the flat. By the second half, they were comical encounters, Vick running from this side of the field to that side of the field, defenders looking like wedding guests doing the electric slide.
They played zone against him by the end, allowing him to wander endlessly in his own backfield until Jason Avant found some open real estate in the back of the end zone for the Eagles' final offensive touchdown.
It made the score 52-21.
It came midway through the third quarter.
Joe Banner and Jeffrey Lurie had no idea, of course. Andy Reid had no idea, and neither did you. It's even hard to believe Vick thought he could do this, although his willingness to become a student, to take his second chance (and maybe a third) and work it into this unlikely and yes, still uneasy story, is paying off in jaw-dropping dividends.
"Nobody likes to be looked at in a negative way," Vick was quoted as saying in Saturday's edition of the Delaware County Daily Times. "When you're getting all of this praise and everything is positive, it's so gratifying because you know it's because of your hard work and it's because you're doing the right things. But when it's negative you just want to crawl up under a rock."
It's a common theme in this second coming, and frankly, one many of us eye warily. It's a naïve notion in 2010 to want your victors to be virtuous, yet it is clearly part of the emotion invested in any favorite team, in any campaign.
Vick is playing spectacular football, the kind you can't take your eyes off, the kind that's just so much fun to watch.
But the wish that you didn't know as much as you did lingers, and for some, anyway, tempers the fun. For much of his stay here there has even been this clock for some, waiting for the experiment to end and his stay to be over.
Now what? He's a keeper, that's what. Especially after yesterday, which began with the announcement of McNabb's 5-year, $78 million deal, $40 million of it guaranteed. If they're handing out that kind of dough to a slowed, soon-to-be-34-year-old quarterback, what's it going to cost to lock up this smarter, faster, fresher cyber version of the quarterback who once graced the video game box - before he was this good, this hard to believe?
The franchise tag is worth about $15 million to him right now. He'll probably collect more than that, get locked up for a bunch of years the way McNabb was yesterday.
As for the uneasiness, well, ask yourself this: Imagine if someone had offered something for him last spring? Imagine if he was doing this somewhere else, and Kolb was learning his craft in midnight green?
Would you feel better right now?
Or a lot worse?
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