Vick gets paid like the best, but has he earned it?

Chris Hummer

Quick — name the three best quarterbacks in the NFL. Most people come up with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady right off the bat. The third quarterback chosen might be Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or Philip Rivers.

All of these players are deserving of consideration for the spot, but none of those signal callers are the third-highest paid at the position. That distinction belongs to the Eagles’ Michael Vick, who signed a six-year, $100 million contract on Tuesday.

This is the same player who, just over two years ago, was serving jail time. He was out of work and bankrupt. Now he’s the first player ever in league history to sign two deals worth $100 million.

“The thing for me was believing in the people who were there for me in my time of need,” Vick said at his press conference.

“You never know what’s going to happen.”

Vick’s story is a great one, and completely exemplifies the beauty of the American justice system and the way it gives people the opportunity to redeem themselves.

But has Vick really earned that sum of money in just two years back in the NFL? The short answer to that question is no, not yet.

In his first year back, he rarely saw the field, just coming in briefly to run the wildcat package behind Donovan McNabb.

In his second year — a season that began on the bench behind Kevin Kolb — he put up some gaudy numbers, throwing 21 touchdowns and running for nine more in 11 starts. He finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting to Brady.

The key number there is 11 — as in only 11 starts out of 32 chances since he has been back. That’s not enough of a sample size to support a $100 million contract.

Vick is also injury prone, and has only been healthy for a full 16-game schedule just once in his eight-year career.

But perhaps most importantly, Vick has not proven himself as a winner in the big games yet with a 2-3 all time playoff record. Manning, Brady, Brees and Rodgers have each won at least one championship.

So while Vick’s story is a great one, a redemption story for the ages, the Eagles may have jumped the gun a little on the contract, paying an injury-prone 31-year-old like an all-time great.