$20 mil, Mr. Blank? Sure thing. Just let Mike unscrew the bottom of his Aquafina bottle and he'll pull it out for you right away
I seriously doubt Michael Vick has $20 million to spare, but if he is forced to repay that kind of money to the Atlanta Falcons, he will hover like a curse over the NFL for a long time. Anyway, the Falcons shouldn't be trusted with that kind of money. They might spend it on free agents. Expensive, worthless free agents like Peerless Price or Ed Hartwell.
If NFL teams are granted the ability to demand repayment of bonuses to such an extent, expect a chill on the inducement power of the signing bonus. Jamarcus Russell length holdouts will become more normal. He got his money, but the Raiders lost the ability to choose whether or not their coveted #1 pick would start this season. Teams will lose the salary cap flexibility when dealing with coveted players who prefer to eschew the risk of potentially having to give their money back. Steve Wyche of the AJC elaborates:
The ramifications of this case could be profound, which is why the players' union immediately drew up papers to file an appeal of Burbank's decision. Should the Falcons ultimately win this case, teams throughout the league could make use the same argument to recoup bonus money paid to players found to have violated terms of their contract.
Still, Vick's professional team is getting the sideways glance. Things continue to go so badly for Michael Vick on a seemingly daily basis, one has to wonder whether he would have been better off facing a jury of his peers. What more would he have lost, even if he was found guilty? The downside of the guilty plea was that various third parties now have a negative factual basis to rely on. It increasingly seems apparent that there was no coordination amongst Vick's professional team. No one has stepped up to simultaneously manage Vick's freedom, image, finances and professional prospects. They have a copy of the contract. If a $20 million judgment was a foreseeable risk, they should have worked out a private settlement with the Falcons. If the guilty plea was going to collapse the rest of Vick's life like a house of cards, maybe Michael should have gone to trial.
Michael Vick has lost so much. Too much for the crime he committed. Someone needs to show him some mercy. Maybe that person could be the commissioner who could expedite Vick's return to the league so that Vick can get started on that payment plan.