Michael Vick to Steelers: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

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After enduring one of the worst seasons in his 12-year NFL career, quarterback Michael Vick is getting another chance to play—this time for the Pittsburgh Steelers on a one-year deal, the team announced Tuesday.

On Friday, Rich Cimini of ESPN reported the deal is worth $970,000, none of which is guaranteed.

ESPN's Adam Caplan reported Vick will wear No. 2 in Pittsburgh.

The fact that Vick couldn't unseat Geno Smith as the New York Jets starting quarterback is as strong of an indicator as one can find that the veteran lefty is well past his prime. 

With Bruce Gradkowski injured and Landry Jones unproven, the Steelers took a chance by adding Vick as another veteran option behind starter Ben Roethlisberger.

Upon making his return to the league with the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick enjoyed the two best passing seasons of his career. His performance then cratered after 2012, reaching a nadir in 2014.

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

It wasn't exactly shocking when reports of Vick's impending departure from New York emerged in February.

He only started three games for the Jets and acknowledged after a poor Week 5 showing against the San Diego Chargers that he was ill-prepared to take over for Smith, per Darryl Slater of NJ Advance Media:

I learned a lesson last week: Always stay ready, always be prepared. That left a bitter taste in my mouth, that I wasn’t able to go out and put points on the board or even help this team in any fashion. This week has been a different work week for me. I think throughout the rest of the year, it’s going to be totally different for me, as far as my preparation.

Considering the Jets signed Vick to back up Smith and be a spot starter, the former No. 1 overall pick had to feel somewhat of a letdown taking practice reps behind an unproven youngster. He didn't mentally ready himself for ever needing to replace Smith at a moment's notice.

Since Vick's performance never picked up over the course of the 2014 campaign, it sealed his fate with the Jets, whose new regime chose Bryce Petty in the fourth round of this year's draft and signed Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency.

Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus believes the current version of Vick doesn't offer much to the Steelers:  

If the Steelers had the 2011 version of Michael Vick, they would be feeling much better about their offensive situation in the event Roethlisberger were have to come off the field. But Vick has had a negative pass grade every year since then.

Luckily, the Steelers have one of the better offensive lines in football (although Maurkice Pouncey is expected to miss extended time with an injury), and had the seventh-best pass protection in the league last season. But that won’t be enough to save Vick and the Steelers’ offense if Roethlisberger were to get injured.

Expectations will continue to be tempered for Vick in 2015. Fans have to have given up hope of witnessing the "Michael Vick Experience" again in light of what's happened in recent years, and another Philly-like career renaissance seems out of the question.

Perhaps Vick will be able to enjoy a more successful run as a backup in Pittsburgh than he did on a Jets team with a lame duck coach in Rex Ryan that wasn't exactly a paragon of stability. 

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