"We have interest in him long-term," Eagles president Joe Banner said, but the team will have to wait on extensions for either player until after the CBA is settled. "We wouldn't be sitting here and putting a franchise tag on him if he's somebody that we weren't very excited about."
The tag means the Eagles will have to pay Vick about $16 million next season, though the number, based on other top quarterback salaries, is not settled. Vick made $7.1 million in salary and bonuses last season.
"Happy to be an Eagle," Vick said when asked about the tag. His aggressive style of play, though, makes long-term security an important consideration.
Vick's agent, Joel Segal, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
Franchising Vick, 30, could open the door for the Eagles to listen to offers for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, but trades will be difficult with the uncertain labor situation.
No trades can be made until a CBA is done, and if the labor dispute lasts beyond the 2011 draft, the Eagles would likely be looking at receiving 2012 picks, a far less enticing prospect than getting immediate help for next season.
"It makes it more complicated," Banner said.
Player-for-player trades are rare in the NFL.
Akers' agent, Jerrold Colton, said the kicker was "disappointed" in being hit with the transition tag.
"Our hope all along has been to come to a fair, long-term agreement for David to finish his career as a Philadelphia Eagle," Colton said. The tag doesn't preclude that possibility but "doesn't necessarily help."
Akers, 36, talked to the Eagles about an extension during the season, but they could not agree on a contract. Akers would receive $3 million under the transition tag. He can talk to other teams once free agency begins; the Eagles would receive no compensation if they didn't match another offer.
Akers' 2010 base salary was $1.65 million.
The Eagles had to use the tags on both players to secure them for 2011. Their pay each grew by more than 30 percent last season, barring the team from offering extensions under the rules of the expiring CBA.
"We are literally not allowed to do a deal," Banner said.
The tag protections are not assured, since the NFL Players Association argues that the designations expire March 3, along with the labor agreement.
Banner said the Eagles applied the tags to protect their rights to Vick and Akers in the likely event that the designations remain in the new CBA.
Banner's take. Banner spoke about several other topics. The highlights:
The Eagles have more room under the current salary cap than most teams and expect to be better prepared for what could be a fast-moving free agency period. About 500 players could be on the market once a CBA is done. "There's no doubt there are going to be some value opportunities," Banner said.
The team hopes to avoid layoffs in the event of a lockout. Everyone on the staff will be paid in full for "an extended period" after March 3, he said.
If Juan Castillo wasn't hired as defensive coordinator, Banner said, the team would have sought out coaches who were in the Super Bowl.
Cole has surgery. Defensive end Trent Cole had arthroscopic surgery Monday to debride his right elbow, the team said. "Everything went great with surgery," Cole wrote on his Twitter account.
What's in a Tag?
What is a franchise designation?
NFL clubs can designate an exclusive franchise player by offering a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position at the end of the restricted free agent signing period, or a 20 percent increase over his 2008 salary, or the average of the top five salaries at his position at the end of last season - whichever of the three is greatest. The offering club retains exclusive negotiating rights, and other clubs cannot negotiate with exclusive franchise players.
What is a transition designation?
Clubs may designate a transition player by offering a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top 10 salaries of 2010 at the player's position, or a 20 percent salary increase, whichever is greater. A transition player designation gives the club a first-refusal right to match an offer sheet within seven days given to the player by another club. If the offering club does not match the offer sheet, it receives no compensation.
Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JonathanTamari.