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Five Things to Know: What Vick's Mega-Deal Means

Mario Puig

Mario Puig

Mario sets the direction of RotoWire's college football and NFL draft content, with his other responsibilities primarily resting in those same subjects. He's a fan of Jim Harbaugh, James Harrison and David Bowie.


1. Michael Vicks' new contract: No new deal for DeSean Jackson

Even if Vick's new contract is not a six-year, $100-million deal as initially believed, it still means a contract extension is out of the question for Jackson during the 2011 season.

Despite reports that the deal's sixth year will void if Vick plays 35 percent of Philadelphia's snaps in any of the preceding five years, basically reducing the deal to a five-year, $80-million arrangement, that's still a massive commitment on Philadelphia's part. And the fact that the team hammered out the deal even though Vick was already happily under contract with the franchise tag shows that a new deal for Jackson quite simply was not a top priority for the team. Contracts for Vick, Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin were a priority, on the other hand.

It's not immediately clear whether Jackson is the type who's liable to pout in light of such facts. He has an attitude for sure, but one clear element of his nature is a strong sense of competitiveness. So even if he's sour at Eagles management, it's tough to see him letting it affect his play once he's on the field.

It would be a surprise if Vick's contract resulted in any Brandon Marshall-type antics from Jackson, who can at least take solace in the fact that a huge payday awaits him in free agency, even if it's not coming from the Eagles.

2. Speaking of Vick, can he work with that o-line?

There's no doubt about it, the starting offensive line made an embarrassing showing for Philadelphia against the Browns during the preseason's third week.

Rookies Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins just don't appear to be up to the task as starters, but the Eagles appear set to role with them anyway. Injuries to Ryan Harris (back) and Winston Justice (knee) necessitated Todd Herremans moving from left guard to right tackle. Herremans' position change resulted in the installation of Evan Mathis as the new starter at left guard, but Mathis hasn't been a full-time starter since 2006.

So that's a total of four new starters, including the guard and tackle spots on Vicks' blindside. There's a good amount of talent among those new starters, to be fair, but that's a great deal of turnover with which to deal.

Since the talent is there, it's probably safe to expect some sort of improvement as the weeks pass, but it could be a rough going early on. It's a reminder of why Aaron Rodgers is probably the safest pick as the top fantasy quarterback.

3. Do Tony Romo and Co. Have It Even Worse Than Vick?

It's more than slightly possible. While Philadelphia has two potential rookie starters, Dallas is going with three.

Right tackle Marc Colombo was a huge liability in 2010, while right guard Leonard Davis was a big one and center Andre Gurode was occasionally one himself, but it's difficult to imagine that Tyron Smith, Bill Nagy and Phil Costa will be any better as a group.

Then again, when you turn on the film of Colombo last year, it quickly becomes clear (as Miami will soon learn) that he had no business being on the field. Expect Smith to be an upgrade there. Moving left guard Kyle Kosier to play next to Smith on the right side should help Smith, too.

But Nagy, a seventh-round pick who was a backup at Wisconsin almost all of his career, is hardly a solid bet to fill in well for Kosier at left guard. And Costa's early-season availability isn't even guaranteed due to a PCL sprain.

It's difficult to suggest that Romo's fantasy ranking should be changed, as he's been playing with mediocre offensive lines his whole career. He's used to this. But the Felix Jones excitement might want to settle down a bit (and that's coming from the guy who's been hyping him since July 16).

4. Maurice Jones-Drew making preseason debut

As if Chris Johnson's holdout wasn't creating enough uncertainty in the first round of fantasy drafts, Jones-Drew and his troublesome knee have created a similar risk for potential owners.

While Jones-Drew is never anything less than 110 percent confident in himself, the fact that the Jaguars have been exceptionally cautious with him this preseason is not to be dismissed. With the knee reportedly reduced to a bone-on-bone state before his January surgery, there's no guarantee that he'll be as explosive, fast or powerful as he was before.

That's why Thursday's game against St. Louis, when Jones-Drew will make his preseason debut, might be the most important game of the preseason. It will be the first live-action look at what kind of shape Jones-Drew's knee might be in.

At least one assumption seems reasonable: when Jones-Drew gets on the field Thursday, he won't exercise the same caution his team doctors have. He'll go full-speed, giving fantasy owners an honest portrait of his current condition.

5. Is Ahmad Bradshaw the NYG runner to target?

In a vacuum, it seems like Bradshaw is the easy choice over Brandon Jacobs. One finished the 2010 season with 1,549 yards and eight touchdowns from scrimmage, while the other came away with 882 yards and nine touchdowns. It's not even close.

But given that Bradshaw is generally targeted as a RB2 while Jacobs is usually valued as no more than an RB3, is Bradshaw clearly the better value? I don't think he is.

For Jacobs, 224 carries in 15 games turned out to be too big of a burden during the 2009 season, and his rushing average fell to 3.7 yards per carry after averaging 5.0 yards per carry in the two years prior. But when his carry total fell to 147 over 16 games last year, Jacobs posted an average of 5.6 yards per carry - easily the best figure of his career.

Look for the Giants to establish a sensible medium between 224 and 147 this year, with the final total being closer to 200 than 147. In that case, Jacobs would have a decent chance to return to 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown territory.