Falcons Can Seek $20M From Vick

Arbitrator rules that team can pursue option and roster bonuses
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2007 8:13 PM CDT
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick sits on the sidelines during the Falcons game against the Dallas Cowboys during a NFL football game in this Dec. 16, 2006 file photo in Atlanta. Vick was attentive...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Michael Vick may have to pay the Falcons a whopping $20 million, an arbitrator ruled today, challenging a precedent that teams can only go after signing bonus money. NFL Special Master Stephen Burbank ruled that the Falcons can pursue Vick's option and roster bonuses as well, because Vick, who is suspended, hasn't had a chance to earn them.

The players union appealed, while the Falcons were elated: "It is the first step in a process to recoup significant salary-cap space that will allow us to build our football team," said a Falcons rep. If the ruling is reversed, the case may be re-filed; if upheld, the Falcons will try to recoup the money with a non-injury arbitrator, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.