The Philadelphia Eagles’ regular-season finale against the New York Giants on Sunday is expected to mark the end of coach Andy Reid’s 14-year tenure.
Win or lose, owner Jeffrey Lurie likely is going to fire Reid and replace him with University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman or some other candidate.
Sunday’s game may also be a farewell performance for several Eagles. Reid or his successor will be revamping the roster in an effort to turn the team around after back-to-back seasons in which they failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Quarterback Michael Vick is among the players facing an uncertain future.
Vick will get an unexpected opportunity to showcase his talent on Sunday. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles will miss the game with a hairline fracture in his right (throwing) hand. Vick, who has not played since suffering a concussion against Dallas on Nov. 11, is the leading contender to replace Foles against the Giants.
“I’m not going out to audition for a job,” Vick told USA Today Sports on Monday in Newport News, Va. “I’m going out to try and win. My play and what I’ve done for the this league and the accolades that I have speak for themselves. I’m excited about (starting against the Giants). I love the game of football. I love playing football. Regardless of our record, I’m excited to be out there. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play again. I plan on taking advantage of it.”
Vick, who spent Christmas Eve handing out gifts to children at a church in Newport News, was eligible to play in Sunday’s 27-20 loss to Washington but was deactivated after being designated as the No. 3 quarterback behind Foles and Trent Edwards.
He started the first nine games of the season and was inconsistent. He threw 11 touchdown passes, but committed 14 turnovers, including nine interceptions, while the Eagles slumped to 3-6.
When Vick was recovering from the concussion, Reid announced that Foles would be the starter for the rest of the season.
“A lot of things transpired this year,” Vick said Monday. “Do I think some things could have been handled differently? Yeah, maybe so. But there’s no use crying over things you have no control over. The most important thing for me is to give everything I got when I step onto the field and not hold any grudge.”
The 10-year NFL veteran is scheduled to make $15.5 million next season as part of the six-year, $100 million contract he signed in 2011. Under the terms of the deal, the Eagles can release him after the year without owing him any compensation or can give him a $3 million going-away present if they keep him on the roster beyond Feb. 6, which is the day of the Super Bowl.
There is a chance the Eagles could bring him back. If Reid is fired and the new coach favors an option-oriented attack suh as those used in San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, Vick would be a more attractive option at quarterback than Foles. But that’s only if Vick would be willing to take a dramatic salary reduction.
If the Eagles pass on Vick, other teams figure to be interested. Arizona, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Minnesota, the New York Jets, Tampa Bay and Tennessee could all be looking for another starting quarterback. And since the 2013 draft class is thin at quarterback, Vick could be a hot commodity.
“Whatever happens next year happens,” Vick said. “I’m just going to be a guy who, wherever I’m at, I’m going to make the team better.”
A number of other Eagles players could be gone after the season.
Tackle King Dunlap and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are among eight players due to become unrestricted free agents. Rodgers-Cromartie has indicated a willingness to return but did not play well this season.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha presumably will be asked to accept a salary cut if he wants to stay. Asomugha, who has been a major disappointment since joining the Eagles last season, is due to make $15 million in 2013.
“I think it’s really important to stay,” Asomugha said last week. “All I can say right now is I really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I definitely want to be back here.”
Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins may be asked to take a second salary cut in as many years to stay.
Jenkins agreed to a restructuring before this season that reduced his base salary to $820,000 and overall pay to $5.8 million instead of $7.2. He is scheduled to make $4 million in 2013.
Jenkins, 31, got off to a slow start this season but has come on strong since the defense abandoned the “Wide 9” scheme in favor of a more basic alignment.
“This defense is similar to what I was playing in Green Bay, so I’m used to it,” Jenkins said last week. “I don’t have to think anymore out there. I can just react.”
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