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Vick and Falcons settlement dependent on appeals court

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The Atlanta Falcons have reached a settlement with quarterback Michael Vick on their breach-of-contract claim that is still awaiting an appeals court decision on a grievance case, sources confirmed Monday.

Under the settlement, Vick has agreed to pay the Falcons $7.5 million if the team wins an appeal in the Eighth Circuit Court and $6.5 million if the court upholds U.S. District Judge David Doty's decision that Vick is only liable for $3.75 million.

The settlement should pave the way for Vick's imminent release from the team. He has remained under contract with the team while serving a 21-month prison term for his 2007 conviction for bankrolling a dogfighting operation.

The Falcons were awarded a $20 million claim by the NFL's special master in a grievance filed against Vick, alleging he breached his contract when he was criminally convicted. However, Judge Doty overturned the special master's ruling, saying that Vick was only responsible for $3.75 million, a pro-rated amount of his signing bonus.

In the settlement reached last week, sources say that Vick agreed to let the appeals court make a ruling but would only pay a maximum of $7.5 million and a minimum of $6.5 million. The appeals court is expected to rule no later than June.

Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.

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