Michael Vick is confident he'll be a starter somewhere in 2014, but confidence and reality aren't always aligned.
He reiterated that to NFL.com during Super Bowl week in New York, adding that "I can't see no other way."
But as CSN Philly's Rueben Frank reported, Vick would also be willing to return to Philadelphia "if all else fails."
There's actually a decent chance all else fails. But there's a better chance he escapes Philly.
When he inevitably tests those free-agent waters when the market opens March 11, don't be surprised if the veteran quarterback and freak athlete gets some bites.
The question now is if he'll be able to land a clear-cut, undisputed starting job, or whether it's merely a chance to compete for said role. Either way, he'd probably jump at the chance since Nick Foles is, for now, the obvious starter in Philly.
The thing is: Vick remains one of the 32 best quarterbacks in a 32-team league. That doesn't necessarily mean he'll become a starter, because many factors are at play and he'll be 34 years old before he gets a chance to take another snap. Don't forget about his background off the field, as well as his issues with turnovers and time in the pocket.
|Interceptions/fumbles per game, 2011-2013|
|Quarterback||Team||INT/FUM per game|
|1. Mark Sanchez||Jets||2.23|
|2. Ryan Fitzpatrick||Bills/Titans||1.74|
|3. Michael Vick||Eagles||1.73|
|4. Eli Manning||Giants||1.65|
|5. Carson Palmer||Raiders/Cardinals||1.63|
|6. Philip Rivers||Chargers||1.52|
|7. Joe Flacco||Ravens||1.50|
|8. Christian Ponder||Vikings||1.50|
|9. Jay Cutler||Bears||1.47|
|10. Robert Griffin III||Redskins||1.43|
|Pro Football Reference|
Do young teams really want to go down that road? Vick is probably more of a temporary solution than anything.
Still, there are more than a handful of teams that make some sense, including...
Minnesota Vikings: With Matt Cassel gone, they have just one bad quarterback on their current roster. Vick would be an upgrade, but new offensive coordinator Norv Turner has already said they'll be looking for a young quarterback to come in.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns have the No. 4 overall pick and Brian Hoyer showed promise before getting hurt in 2013. But with Kyle Shanahan and that quirky front office, who knows.
Tennessee Titans: Nobody knows what they're going to do with Jake Locker, especially with Ken Whisenhunt in town.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Chad Henne will be a free agent and Blaine Gabbert is as good as done.
Houston Texans: It would be a huge surprise if they didn't draft a quarterback first overall. And if that's the plan, they'll likely stay away.
Oakland Raiders: Frank predicted on Twitter last month that this is where he'd land. Terrelle Pryor isn't getting it done and I don't think Matt McGloin is the long-term solution. This, however, could depend on what they want to do with that No. 5 overall pick.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: ESPN's Adam Schefter has linked Vick to the Bucs, who are now coached by Tony Dungy's pal Lovie Smith. The Bucs pick seventh, which might be too late for any of the draft's top quarterbacks. Wouldn't be crazy to imagine Vick battling Mike Glennon this summer.
New York Jets: This is the other team thrown out there as a possible landing spot by Schefter, which is a bit more odd considering how confident they seem to be in Geno Smith. He could be brought in as a mentor and to help the transition to Smith, but is that much better than his situation in Philly?
Vick could take a chance in any of those cities, but if the offers he receives aren't clearly going to give him a chance to start, he could also return to the City of Brotherly Love, where he's comfortable and where he's still only one play away from starting for a Super Bowl-contending franchise.
Minnesota and Oakland might be the only cities he could land without having much competition for the starting role.
If Vick were to gain a starting job, he'd be the sixth-oldest starting quarterback in the NFL. But Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer and Tony Romo aren't a bad batch to be grouped with.
Remember: This year's quarterback draft class is shallow because everyone's being cool and staying in school. If you're not getting Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel, you probably have to find a starter elsewhere, even if he's an old man.
Right now, I'd say that at least three teams—the Vikings, Texans and Raiders—aren't satisfied with the options on their rosters. Two of them might be able to draft one of those top three quarterbacks, but Minnesota might not be able to.
With Vick joined by only guys like Henne, Josh Freeman, Josh McCown and Matt Flynn on the free-agent market, there's a strong chance he gets a look from whoever feels they won't find their next quarterback in the draft.
Again, that could very well be Minnesota or Oakland, where he'd likely start. Tampa Bay and the Jets remain intriguing. Jacksonville and Cleveland can't be ruled out.
The point is that there will be many different possibilities, which means the odds aren't great Vick returns to accept a backup role.
That sucks for Eagles fans who still aren't 100 percent sure about Foles, who has never started from the beginning of a season and will have a target on his back after a ridiculous 2013 campaign.
I don't believe the odds are favorable that Vick succeeds in a starting role elsewhere, because running quarterbacks with turnover and injury issues don't inspire confidence at age 34, but I do believe he'll get one more shot.
In other words, the Eagles had better hope Foles' 2013 season wasn't an anomaly.
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