Landing the top free-agent quarterback in Michael Vick may prove to be John Idzik's best move of this year's free agency period, but it presents a unique quandary for the Jets as they sort out their depth chart.
On the surface, Vick is a perfect solution to all of the Jets' needs from their backup quarterback: Vick will not just "push" Geno Smith for the starting job, but he is more than capable of winning the job outright—by a significant margin.
It is easy to forget that Vick outplayed Nick Foles in the preseason last year for the Philadelphia Eagles' starting gig. Had it not been for injury, Vick would have never given the starting job up. If Vick can stay healthy, there is little reason to believe that Smith is capable of beating out Vick, even if he has gained a few fractions of a second on his 40 time with age.
If Vick does outplay Smith, the Jets have no choice but to play the better quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan, who may be facing unemployment if he fails to improve on last year's 8-8 record, certainly has the motive to play the best player.
Still, the question remains: is John Idzik willing to sit a young player like Smith for the sake of a single season?
Idzik may have the franchise's long-term interests in mind, but this is the bed he made when he signed Vick. Playing the lesser player can have rippling effects in the locker room while costing the team precious wins.
Idzik has been preaching his mantra of competition since he took the job. Now is the time to back up his words.
After all Vick is on a one-year contract. The Jets can always go back to Smith next year, consider a trade, draft another quarterback next year, etc.—in other words, let the situation play out with an authentic, fair quarterback battle.