PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 18: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the preseason game on August 18, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
No one would say that if Michael Vick continues to play like he did last year that he is not worth the 6-year, $100 million deal he just signed. In fact, if he continues to play at or near that level for most of this contract, he'll probably end up being a bit of bargain. However, the one criticism made of the deal was that last year might have been a fluke. It is true that Vick's numbers were dramatically different than they were the rest of his career, so without context I suppose it makes sense for someone to claim it could be an outlier.
However, a quick look at history shows us that's not likely to be true. The one stat that defined the change in Vick's game last year was his completion percentage. He displayed a level of accuracy that he simply never had before. His previous season high as far as completion percentage was 56.4%, while last year it was 62.6%. That is the sixth biggest increase over a previous season's best completion percentage since the merger, with the others being Steve Bartkowski, Jim Hart, David Carr, Archie Manning & Jim Plunkett.
Here's the encouraging thing about what those guys did after their "outlier" season. As ESPN's Chris Sprow found, not only is Vick's increase in accuracy no sign that he will regress, it's more likely that he will improve even further.
Every guy on the list outside of Carr went on to be even more accurate than before. After his breakthrough year, Bartkowski jumped another four percentage points a year later; Plunkett became notably more accurate; and a look at Vick's game logs shows he was consistently more accurate last year -- his highest completion percentage was 71.4. There was no 22-of-24 effort that totally skews the data.
Vick told ESPN that magazine that the scheme is more to thank for his increase than anything.
"It's not me, it's the scheme. In the NFL, schemes make great quarterback. I love Atlanta, but I wish now I would have been drafted by the Eagles."
Given how well every QB seems to play in this system and how a guy like McNabb regressed when he left (he had his lowest completion % in four years last year), there's probably a lot of truth to what Vick says here and would make it even less likely that he would be a due for a regression next year. As shown above, history suggests we haven't even seen the best of Vick yet...