In the 2001 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons drafted quarterback Michael Vick with the first overall pick. In his rookie season, he only started two games while playing in eight. A year later, in 2002, he started 15 games and earned his first Pro Bowl invitation while leading the Falcons to the NFC Divisional game where they lost to the Eagles.
His 2003 season began with a fractured fibula that kept him out of the first 11 regular season games. Then, coming off his injury in 2004, Vick earned another Pro Bowl bid and led the Falcons to an 11-5 record. He took the Falcons to the NFC Championship where they lost to the Eagles.
Following his 2004 season, Michael Vick signed a 10-year deal with the Falcons worth $130 million, which made him the NFL’s highest paid player at the time. Coming off a season where he passed for 2,313 yards, 14 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and ran for 902 yards, Vick was certainly deserving of his contract.
How things turned out
The next season, Vick earned another Pro Bowl invitation, but the Falcons missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record. Two years after his contract, Vick would go on to become the first quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season. He averaged a record 8.4 yards per carry.
Then, in August 2007, Michael Vick pleaded guilty to a federal charge of being involved with a dog fighting ring. Following this, the NFL suspended Vick for violating its player conduct policy. While the door was open for his reinstatement, he didn’t play during the 2007 or the 2008 season. The Falcons ended up released Michael Vick in 2009.
After Vick’s release from prison, he was mentored by Tony Dungy and eventually signed a one-year contract with the Eagles to return to the NFL. While Vick went on to have a temporary resurgence with the Eagles, he only played two years of his 10-year contract with the Falcons.