There's a lot of speculation up in Boston that Michael Vick could end up a Patriot.
Rumors swirled on the Internet that the former Falcons quarterback, who served a 23-month sentence for his role in a dogfighting ring, had been spotted yesterday at Logan Airport. The Miami Herald erroneously reported he had worked out for the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Patriots spokesman Stacey James said Vick was not in Foxborough and didn’t work out for the team.
Vick was, in fact, in Virginia yesterday in federal bankruptcy court.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick contributed to the furor when asked whether the team had ruled out signing Vick.
"Have we ruled it out? I don’t know that it’s ruled in or ruled out,’’ Belichick said. "I’m just answering your question. I’m saying I don’t think it’s ever been put that way, so I can’t really answer that.’’
Belichick was then asked if he was interested in signing Vick.
"You know, I think we would consider . . . we’re coaching the players that we have on the field right now, so that’s who’s here. So anybody who isn’t here, is there a potential that they could be here? Yeah, there probably is.’’
We all know the Pats don't like to show their cards. I don't read a whole lot into Belichick's comments. He'd be saying the same thing whether New England was in negotiations to sign him or whether the franchise completely ruled it out.
With that said, I think this would make a ton of sense for both sides. Any team that makes this move has to be prepared for some bad PR. It will take an owner and head coach with a lot of built up goodwill. The Pats have that. They also more than perhaps any other franchise in the NFL just don't care about outside criticism. Whenever they make a move, they think negative publicity is temporary, and they will be vindicated in the end.
The benefits for Vick would be obvious. I'm not sure coming back and starting right away would be the best thing for him. Any chance he got to do that would probably come for a terrible team that would sign him in despiration. If he was willing to play for the minimum for a year with a reduced role to help a contender, it would be good for his image. It would display a humility and a willingness to step back and prove himself.
Just imagine what a guy as creative as Belichick could cook up. Vick was born to play as a Wildcat quarterback. He would instantly become the league's best in that area. I could also see the Pats sticking Brady and Vick in the shotgun at the same time. How about Vick lining up at running back, getting a toss, and having a run pass option? Or having Vick at receiver with run pass options on reverses and laterals. He'd also be the most proven backup quarterback in the league, insurance against another Tom Brady injury.
I'm against the Jets signing him just because Mark Sanchez isn't established. The Jets need to let him assert that this is his team. He doesn't need to look over his shoulder and see a Pro Bowl quarterback every time he makes a bad throw. The Pats already have a clear alpha dog at quarterback. Vick won't threaten him.
It would create another headache dealing with that offense. If I'm Belichick, I'm going after Michael Vick.