Sure, Vick is going to be 34 during the 2014 campaign, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t worth some type of investment from a franchise.
The key will be keeping any potential deal low-risk and high-reward. That may be easier said than done, but the best way to do so is by offering a short-term contract that is incentive-laden instead of a longer investment with too much guaranteed money.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via NFL: Around the League) and DYST Now point out a number of possible suitors for the former Philadelphia Eagle:
From @RapSheet: Jets, Raiders and Bills interested in Vick, who is placing a priority on landing a starting job.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) March 11, 2014
UPDATE: It's down to two teams now for FA Michael Vick; The New York Jets or Oakland Raiders. Jets still the favorite.— DYST Now (@DYST_Now) March 12, 2014
One thing that jumps out about all those teams is the fact that each one missed the playoffs last year. If other hypothetical destinations like Cleveland and Jacksonville are thrown in the mix, you can make a fairly convincing argument without much effort that every one of those squads is a number of pieces away from seriously contending for the Lombardi Trophy.
The suggestion here isn’t that Vick will be the savior to deliver a coveted championship to one of these struggling franchises. Rather, he would be a solid short-term investment that would generate buzz within the fanbase and help any young quarterback in the development department.
If any of these teams were to draft a quarterback this year, Vick can serve as a temporary stopgap in a situation that would give the rookie (or in the Jets’ case, second-year man Geno Smith) more time to further learn the ropes in the NFL.
Vick has proven that he can effectively fill the mentor role, as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News pointed out when advocating that the Jets should pull the trigger and sign him:
Vick, who will turn 34 this summer, is the best option for Rex Ryan’s team for myriad reasons. He’s a scheme fit in Marty Mornhinweg’s version of the West Coast offense after four seasons together in Philadelphia. He matches the profile of what Idzik & Co. are searching for at the position: A team player who can still play.
Vick proved last season that he is a willing mentor. When Nick Foles took over the Eagles’ starting job after Vick suffered a hamstring injury in Week 5, the four-time Pro Bowler didn’t show a trace of animosity or jealousy.
He transformed himself in Philadelphia after past transgressions, making the most of his second chance. He won the team’s Ed Block Courage Award in his first season with the Eagles.
However, Vick still has the itch to play if his comments in the same story are any indication, which would clearly be needed if he is to start in 2014 while the hypothetical younger signal-caller is developing:
I enjoy the role of mentoring, but I also like being in action. I love playing football. I love playing quarterback. It’s a great game, so I take on that role because I feel like that’s my responsibility when I’m in that position.
Vick threw for 1,215 yards and five touchdowns in seven games last year before going down with an injury, adding 306 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He still flashed the athletic brilliance that made him one of the league’s most dynamic players in Atlanta on occasion and isn’t far removed from back-to-back 3,000-yard passing seasons in 2010 and 2011.
Would you want your favorite team to sign Vick?
That type of production and still-existing potential is worth a signing at the right price.
Looking forward, Vick’s role will likely be the same on any of the aforementioned teams.
He will compete for the starting job in the offseason with whichever young player is also in the fold. If Vick wins the job, he will fill two jobs in 2014: starting quarterback and player coach.
Follow me on Twitter: