Mike Vick Would Fit With New York Jets

Posted: 02/25/2014 in Player News, What's New
Tags: ,
The Jets are ready for a Quarterback like Michael Vick. Photo By: Eric Nichay

The Jets are ready for a Quarterback like Michael Vick. Photo By: Eric Nichay

 

NFL.com’s Ian Rapaport  reported  Monday that Mike Vick rumors to the Jets are getting a little bit louder.

It’s only fitting that my first post for The 5th Quarter is about the New York Jets, one of two NFL teams situated inside the media capital of the world, the big apple. The Jets, who are desperately thin on offense after an unflattering 8-8 finish – and were considered a longshot to even win that much – are now in the market for a quarterback to push and mentor Geno Smith, their future of the franchise.

Some may be thinking: “But what about Mark Sanchez?”

The former “Sanchize” is still on the roster, taking up a whopping $13 million in cap space for next season after failing to play a single down in 2013. He injured his shoulder in the preseason, had surgery on it and was subsequently shut down before Week 1 even kicked off. He now sits idly twiddling his thumbs just waiting to be cut. It was a likely scenario before and now with Mike Vick entering the picture it becomes a mere certainty that Sanchez has seen his last game with the green and white. Barring an enormous pay cut, he is probably gone. Teams don’t pay their backups more than the starters.

But Sanchez may end up starting next year regardless. The AFC conference as a whole had a down year in 2013 (some claim the NFC Championship game was the real Superbowl) and houses numerous QB-needy teams including: Oakland; Buffalo; Cleveland; Jacksonville and arguably even Cincinnati. But we also shouldn’t forget that Sanchez getting cut is the best thing for both parties because Sanchez needs a better fit too, after wearing out his welcome in New York. It’s only a matter of time  because the Jets have other options available for a lower cost in the draft and in free agency. That includes the legendary Michael Vick.

If Vick does decide to sign with New York it would re-united him with Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg who held the same title when they were both with the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick would start basically every game right up until the minute Geno Smith is ready to take the reins from him. Possiblities of when that would happen range from halfway through this season to two years down the road. Then,  just like Vick did last year with Nick Foles in Philadelphia, hand the keys to the offense to Geno Smith and be on his way…again.

That is the life of a player with a “mentor” label. The NFL is repeatedly referred to as a young man’s game. Once a player passes the age of 30 years old, he isn’t seen as a developing player anymore but and aging veteran. That goes for almost every position these days. It is bittersweet for a player to be hired to teach and train the man that will eventually take his job. That is the blueprint laid out for Michael Vick at this time. The soon-to-be 34 year old must entertain these one and two year deals to mentor young quarterbacks because that is all he is going to hear from teams. The NFL is a copycat league as well, and all of the GM’s and coaches stamp a figurative retail value him that his is stuck with, a perception. He may be the most coveted/talented QB on the market this offseason but no team by any stretch of the imagination is viewing him as a long term answer for their franchise. Not even the Jets.

But don’t think Vick is naive either. He knows he is seen around the league as a stop-gap solution at this point in his career which is why he will probably demand a lot of cash, and a lot of guaranteed money. Although his play warrants hefty numbers in his contract, the issue of his health limits his potential. Vick hasn’t played a full season since 2006 so the chances of Geno Smith being thrust into the starting role anyway next season would still be high. With Vick’s notoriety from his checkered past with the law, I do believe he has reinvented himself and will be no problem in a distraction-loaded city like New York. People like Tony Dungy and Andy Reid, who are extremely respected head coaches have vouched for Michael and his rehabilitation. You can see it when he talks, he gives off the impression that he’s learned from everything that has happened and not only moved on from it, but moved forward as well.

But lets say it turns out that Vick and his agents ultimately don’t like the Jets offer, or the Jets go with Josh McCown – who they have significant interest in – instead. That, in effect, would catapult Mike Vick to…well…actually the Jets are the only place where Vick fits seamlessly right into the plans. Vick has also been linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who pick seventh overall in this year’s draft. On top of that, their current QB Mike Glennon finished the year as the best rookie passer of 2013 so Vick, who wants to start, may be weary of boarding the Bucs’ roster just yet. In fact, most of those QB-needy teams mentioned above are placed in the top 10 of the NFL draft in May. The NFC was even better than the AFC this year, so the need is much less in that conference because the teams are stronger at the position. For the time being, the NFL has come to the conclusion that winning is a result of great quarterback play. So can Vick still be great? That is precisely the million dollar (or more) question for teams right now.

Taking all of that into careful consideration, I think the best and most logical place Vick could end up is on the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikes, who pick right behind the Bucs at number eight, failed miserably at the QB position last year. They tried three different players at the position with no success. They seem to be finally moving on from Christian Ponder so they instantly are in need of a new franchise arm. Adrian Peterson isn’t getting younger and after multiple surgeries in the last few years he is itching for a playoff caliber QB to get him a shot at a ring while he’s still in his prime.

Vick is exactly that. A confident, experienced QB that can lift a team from good to playoff-ready with just his name in the lineup. And you can bet that “All Day” Adrian Peterson is going to have an influence in who the Vikes bring in. It wasn’t long ago Vick was the most electrifying athlete on the gridiron. The main difference with him now is that he is much more of an intellectual player than he used to be. Vick would be an excellent leader and mentor for Christian Ponder who the Vikings have invested in with a first-round draft pick. That’s assuming they believe Ponder is still salvageable. If not, by picking up Vick, the Vikings can use their first-rounder this year on another quarterback to groom. Vick doesn’t care who he trains as long as he gets to start.

However, keeping ponder would allow the Vikings to tackle another position of need in the first round. Perhaps a stud wide receiver like Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks or Mike Evans to replace the long departed Percy Harvin, and in return actually provide some help for these QB’s. In the long run, it would also alleviate pressure on Adrian Peterson who faces more eight-man boxes than should be legally possible in a game. Vick can still run too. An added bonus when you have an aging, passblock-deficient offensive line protecting up front such as the one in Minnesota.

Finally, if neither New York nor Minnesota signs Vick then unfortunately he may have to take a backup QB job. With the influx of talent and potential from April’s impeding draftees, the opportunity for Mike Vick to land the job he wants gets exponentially tougher the longer he waits. He could  always stay put until well into the season and wait for a team with an injured starter to come sprinting for his services. But it is seriously risky business to bank on a future injury. The bottom line is, if Vick waits until after the draft to sign somewhere and has already turned the Jets down, and the Vikings don’t sign him, he probably will have to settle for backup money. In the harsh cold reality that is the NFL, a superstar like Michael Vick can be relegated to bench duty because his production doesn’t match his contract demands. Some overrate Vick and some underestimate him. What no one can deny is that he is a hard worker and he will make your team better than it was before he got there.

Conclusion: Mike Vick signing to the New York Jets is best for both parties because Vick gets the highest contract on the market that he can from the fat-pocketed Jets and New York in return gets a role model for Geno Smith to learn from for a year and mature into a true starter in the league without having to go through the growing pains of Geno learning on the job. Geno has already had David Garrard on the roster and in his ear but Garrard never saw the field last year. Geno needs a guy he can see leading by example and show him how to command an offense during the games in crunch time. I see the move as a low risk, high reward chance for the Jets. Fans just have to hope owner Woody Johnson pulls the trigger and gets this thing done. A legitimate QB could possibly pull this .500 squad led by Rex Ryan to a division title. But that’s putting the cart before the horse until Vick signs on the dotted line.

Update March 19 : Vick is scheduled to visit with the Jets on Friday.

More: Expect Sanchez to promptly be cut if Vick signs over the weekend, falling just shy of the March 25 deadline when Sanchez is due his $2 million bonus. Geno Smith, who started all 16 games last season, would likely be demoted to second string duty. Deflating news for Geno, but an absolute luxury for Gang Green in a league where QB’s with both youth and starting experience is scarce. QB’s currently left floating around the market include: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kevin Kolb, Shaun Hill, Colt McCoy, and Matt Flynn, according to multiple  reports. Some have starting experience but not with much success, and none as young and as cheap as Smith. Then let’s assess the Michael Vick visit. If the Jets decide they’re are going to sign a QB now, his resume stands out in comparison. To say the least.

Update March 21: The Jets have announced they signed quarterback Michael Vick. In addition, Mark Sanchez was released the same day.

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