Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff told the team website on Friday that the Falcons are seeking to trade the rights of suspended QB Michael Vick. Dimitroff, who says a trade is in the “best interests” of both the team and Vick, also notes the team won’t publicly speak on the topic until it has “reached a resolution.”
Dimitroff notes that it is within league rules to trade suspended players, but says the NFL has not notified the Falcons that there is any timeline for the incarcerated Vick to be reinstated to the league.
Here are the Vick-related portions of the full Q&A that Dimitroff had with the team’s official website, AtlantaFalcons.com:
AtlantaFalcons.com: Now that the Falcons’ magical 2008 season is over, Falcons fans want to know what the club’s plans are for free agency, the NFL Scouting Combine, the NFL Draft and what the Falcons are going to do with QB Michael Vick, who remains on your roster? Can you shed some light on those topics?
Thomas Dimitroff: “We’re all engrossed in the various preparations for free agency, the Scouting Combine and the 2009 NFL Draft, with the goal of improving our football team. NFL rosters never stay the same from one year to the next, so we’re busy doing our due diligence as far as evaluating our own players and evaluating the collegiate players who will be available to us in the draft.
With regards to Michael Vick, we’ve decided to seek a trade of his contractual rights to another NFL club. We took a number of steps in the 2008 season, including using our first pick to draft a quarterback. We feel a trade is the best move for the Falcons, and it’s also in the best interest of Michael. This has been a really unique situation from a variety of standpoints and because we will actively be involved in a trade situation, I don’t envision our organization speaking any more about this subject publicly until it’s reached a resolution.”
AF.COM: Vick is under indefinite suspension by the NFL. Are teams allowed to seek trades for players who are under suspension?
TD: “NFL rules allow teams to trade the contractual rights of suspended players. So, yes.”
AF.COM: What are the Falcons hearing from the NFL office regarding the timeline for Michael being reinstated?
TD: “We have not been advised by anyone from the league office of any type of timeline regarding Michael Vick being reinstated. So, we don’t know when that might occur. That decision is up to the commissioner.”
AF.COM: Let’s go back to Michael Vick for a moment. What are the salary cap ramifications associated with his contract if you are not able to trade him?
TD: “There are a number of scenarios that could play out, so it’s difficult to say. However, as long as Michael is suspended, his salary is tolled, but his signing bonus money would be part of the cap.”
AF.COM: If you’re able to make a trade, will the club feel a sense of closure?
TD: “We’ve long since moved on from any emotions, which we demonstrated throughout the 2008 season. That’s a credit to our players first, as well as to the focused leadership of our coaching staff.”
AF.COM: What happens if the Falcons try to trade Vick, but there are no takers?
TD: “We obviously have not had any discussions yet, but we think some teams might be interested in exploring a trade. If, for any reason, we are not able to complete a trade, we will re-evaluate our position and make the decision that is in the best long-term interest of our football team.”