Michael Vick's Top Five Suitors (and Why They Won't Sign Him)

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Michael Vick's Top Five Suitors (and Why They Won't Sign Him)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Not to harp on a subject that is arguably overly harped-upon, but Michael Vick is a free agent.

Please, hold your gasps of shock.

What you all should be shocked about, however, is the fact that Michael Vick hasn't been worked out by a team yet, let alone signed by one. This is despite the overwhelming amount of teams that could use both his talent and his experience in the number two slot or in special situations.

At the time of his arrest, he was coming off the best season of his career, and the first season in which he started all 16 games. Yet he lies in his Newport News, VA mansion, by all accounts a pariah with regards to at least half of the teams in the NFL

Most players in the league and sportswriters agree that Vick deserves a second chance. Commissioner Goodell himself said if he was an owner, he'd find a spot for Vick.

So why haven't these five teams made space?

Let's run it down.

1. Minnesota Vikings

Why they should: They need a consistent quarterback with proven talent. Vick has that. While I think Tarvaris Jackson has been given a raw deal in Minnesota, I also think he hasn't done enough to shut up his detractors.

Given Sage Rosenfels' stats over the course of his career, I don't seriously consider him a real competitor for the top spot. He's essentially the veteran who is the bar that Jackson needs to hurdle over to keep his spot.

Jackson will do that.

But Vick can destroy that bar and be the primetime player the Vikings need to make a serious run in the playoffs.

Why they won't: Because the Vikings are afraid to get burned again.

No matter what Brad Childress or any member of the Vikings says, the ordeal with Brett Favre had to have messed with some people's heads, particularly Jackson's.

They are just now seeming to get free of all the media hounds alternately badgering them for information and criticizing them for going after Brett.

The last thing they need is to grab such a high-profile (for all the wrong reasons) player like Vick to bring it all back.

The Vikings have the parts for success, with the exception of quarterback. Jackson's nine TDs to two interception ratio pre-injury may be encouraging, but who knows what his mental state is after this offseason.

2. Chicago Bears

Why they should: Jay Cutler is afraid.

I see it in his interviews, in his facial expressions and in his answers.

Frankly, Jay Cutler should be afraid. As someone who has lived through so many quarterbacks coming and going, either because of god-awful play or because of injuries, I don't know what Chicago will do with a bona fide All-Pro quarterback.

If you told me you saw the future, and Jay Cutler threw for three interceptions before getting both his arms ripped off in the first preseason game, I would not flinch.

Exaggerations aside, neither Caleb Hanie nor Brett Basanez have the experience to take over in a game.

Michael Vick can only help this team, even if he's just an insurance policy.

Why they won't: Aside from the fact that Jerry Angelo is a moron? It's hard to say.

Angelo likes to throw his full weight behind the guys he signs, even if they aren't that good (Kordell Stewart, anyone?).

But Cutler is the real deal by any standard. For the first time in years, the quarterback position isn't in flux, there's no revolving door, and the man getting the snaps from Olin Kreutz is worthy of starting.

Why work up the fanbase and the media by hiring someone who's so high-profile? If they did, the moment Cutler threw a pick, the sharks would start circling Jay and calling for Michael.

3. Buffalo Bills

Why they should: This is officially a make-or-break season for Trent Edwards. He's got plenty of talent at the wide receiver spot, but his own talent is still suspect.

When you have to compete with J.P. Losman for your job, it's never a good sign. The Bills aren't a top team, but they have enough talent to sneak into a wild-card slot.

If Trent Edwards fails or gets hurt, however, they don't have the talent or the experience to save them.

They won't keep Terrell Owens happy either, which will be a huge factor, whether people like it or not.

Bringing Vick on board gets you security as well as the crop with which to whip Edwards. If he knows Vick is waiting in the wings, it could up his game.

Why they won't: Just as evident is the flip side. You don't want to sign a player who's going to spook your starter into playing poorly.

Edwards and this team have dealt with quarterback battles for three years. Enough is enough, and Edwards deserves to have the chance to play a full 16 game season.

Vick also would take a gamble if he signed with Buffalo.

If he wins the job in the preseason, and doesn't play up to par in the regular season, his career, Trent's career, and the Bills' season would be ruined.

Vick has the unique opportunity of a virtually clean slate. He can't waste it trying to be the hero. He just needs to get a chance.

4. Washington Redskins

Why they should: They have a very talented quarterback in Jason Campbell. The problem is Dana Snyder doesn't know it.

After going for Jay Cutler and considering trading up to get Mark Sanchez, Campbell's confidence is shaken. He doesn't have a lot of support.

Now who's been in that situation more than Michael Vick?

Vick can offer Campbell that coaching and support while giving Campbell a break when he needs it during games. For the first time in his career, Vick can move into the "elder statesman" role.

Perhaps that's what's best for his psyche and maybe even his game.

Why they won't: Getting Vick could also be incredibly harsh to Campbell if Vick doesn't accept that teacher role. Vick wants to play. And if Campbell doesn't step up, then he will get benched, and that's it for his career. Period.

That's not the way it should be. Campbell can be the man, but he needs to get people behind him and have faith.

The media and the team may support him, but do the fans? Upper management certainly doesn't support him. The appearance of Michael Vick could shatter Campbell for good, and enough people think it won't be worth it.

5. Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles

Why they should: Both teams are in similar yet unique situations.

Detroit has an NFL-ready rookie in Matthew Stafford. Problem is they need to ease him into the job.

Joe Flacco may have had a killer season last year, but he's the exception that proves the rule. For every Flacco, there are 10 David Carrs and 20 Ryan Leafs.

However, their choice for starter this season is Daunte Culpepper, a man who's injury prone, past his prime, and flat out not that good anymore. Vick can be the man who takes care of business, at least until Stafford learns the system and is ready to lead the team.

The Eagles are in the exact opposite situation. Donovan McNabb is looking the best he's been in a while, and this can be a huge comeback season for him and the Eagles.

But Kevin Kolb is waiting in the wings, inexplicably pegged as the future QB for the team.

The three interceptions he racked up last year compared to his severe lack of touchdowns (that is, zero touchdowns) indicates this is either a man that is not ready to lead, or possibly not equipped with the talent needed.

Vick provides a bumper for Kolb until he is deemed ready.

And who knows? If Kolb fails severely again, maybe Vick can get a permanent spot backing up McNabb, giving him security and possibly a rest every once in a while.

Donovan has always been the Superman of this team, and he deserves a clipboard holder he can trust.

Why they won't: Teams love, LOVE the idea of having a great veteran quarterback leading the team while a young stud gets ready to make it his own someday. The last thing they want is a guy thrown in the mix who might ruin the chemistry.

Neither the Eagles nor the Lions want a guy with too much talent like Vick possibly blocking the connection between teacher and student. It's an idyllic vision, and also one that's not always going to work.

It's that vision that could keep Michael Vick out of work.

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