Now 13 years removed from being selected No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons, after an infamous prison sentence, triumphant rise and injury-riddled fall with the Philadelphia Eagles, Michael Vick has found himself in an awkward situation.
Though uniquely talented, Vick's inconsistent play and frequent injury issues have led to perennially tenuous job security.
This year, second-year professional Nick Foles, who took over for an ailing Vick early in the season, has played incredibly in Chip Kelly's system.
He's thrown 16 touchdowns, no interceptions and leads the NFL with a 128.0 quarterback rating.
This week, Kelly named Foles the starter for the rest of 2013:
Philadelphia's Kelly names Foles the Eagles starter at quarterback for the rest of season http://t.co/l3wA0L8TLZ— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) November 26, 2013
In response to Kelly's commitment to Foles, Vick spoke with Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I feel like I can still start, yeah, in this league," he said.
McLane later pointed out this nugget about the veteran quarterback, a nugget that'll certainly impact the impending free agent's future in the NFL: "Vick has missed 16 full games over the last four seasons and left six other games early due to injury."
Before he was supplanted on the Eagles' depth chart by Foles, Vick amassed these stats in 2013:
|Michael Vick's 2013 Statistics|
|Completions||Attempts||Completion %||TD %||INT%||Yards Per Carry|
|Pro Football Reference|
While his passing stats won't be appealing to many potential employers—although his 8.62 yards-per-attempt average was the highest of his career— the 9.1 yards per carry will. However, there's no doubting that any NFL team will assume major injury risk with Vick if it decides to sign him in the offseason.
At this point, he's still an upper-echelon athlete at his position.
Remember, in May, he made waves after he apparently beat former All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy in a foot race after practice:
Vick just beat Shady in a 40 yard race. @MikeVick— Colt Anderson (@AndersonColt) May 2, 2013
Beat him by a few yards too lol #SpeedKILLS— Mike Vick (@MikeVick) May 2, 2013
Because of the athleticism he brings to the quarterback position, Vick's viability solely depends on the type of offense in which he'd play.
For a coach with a philosophy based in traditional, pocket-passing concepts, Vick will almost assuredly be passed over. No coach will tailor his offensive attack around a somewhat gadgety, 33-year-old signal-caller with a significant injury past.
However, for a coach who wants to run a variety of read-option, Vick could be seen as a cost-effective option who—at the very least—could be used as experienced depth.
It's nearly impossible to predict which coaches will be fired and who'll be hired as their replacements heading into the 2014 campaign.
But with the loaded upcoming class of collegiate quarterback prospects, it's highly unlikely that Vick will go into next season as the favorite to win any starting job. He certainly could be viable competition for a rookie signal-caller next summer, though.
Fortunately, with the amount of injuries we've witnessed at the quarterback spot during the 2013 campaign, teams will make sure they have legitimate insurance in place at the game's most vital position.
Despite his "failures" in a lead role with the Eagles, Michael Vick remains one of the most enticing "fringe" starters in the league.
It'll be a shock if he isn't a member of a 53-man roster next year.