Michael Vick: Potential Jets

Jeff Zelevansky

Should the Jets make a play for the departing Eagle?

I've made my personal feelings on Michael Vick as a person well known in various threads of discussion on sites around SBNation for years now. This article is not a continuation of that discussion or a soapbox for me to air my personal bias. There are an increasing number of rumors and editorials within and outside the mainstream media surfacing over the past couple of days tying Vick to the Jets or suggesting him as an ideal fit to compete with Geno Smith. With that in mind, I intend to dutifully examine Vick as a player and provoke a discussion on whether or not he would be a fit for the Jets. I urge you to do the same with an open mind.

Michael Vick is a 33 year old quarterback and Virginia native with a storied up-and-down career, holding both a disgraceful scandal and an epic comeback to his credit. Vick's career stats per NFL.com are 1,703 completions on 3,030 pass attempts for a 56.2 completion percentage for 21,489 yards and a 7.1 yard per completion average. Vick has 128 touchdowns to 85 interceptions and has been sacked 287 times. Vick has also been an effective ground threat in the past, gaining 5,857 rushing yards on 827 attempts with 36 touchdowns and 41 lost fumbles. Michael Vick has a career QB rating of 80.9.

Michael Vick has played eleven seasons as an NFL quarterback after missing the 2007 and 2008 NFL seasons due to felony convictions related to dogfighting and federal tax evasion. After six seasons as the Atlanta Falcons undisputed starter, the Falcons cut ties with Vick amid his aforementioned legal proceedings. Vick ultimately served 21 months in federal prison. The Philadelphia Eagles took the risk to sign Vick, who was reinstated after week 3 of the 2009 NFL season. Vick played situationally for the Eagles before being named a starting QB again for the 2010 season. Vick played in 12 games in 2010 in what would be the best year of his career statistically speaking. In his 2010 season Michael Vick had a 62.6 completion percentage, 3,018 yards and 21 touchdowns. Vick was named the NFL 2010 Comeback Player of the Year. Vick's success continued for 2011 when he set a career high for passing yards. Vick became a more effective pocket passer while remaining effective on the ground but less reliant on running overall.

Vick's play steadily declined after 2011, with his production returning to around or slightly above his career averages. After being supplanted by breakout QB Nick Foles in Philadelphia, it appears Michael Vick is almost certainly done with the Eagles. The free agent is considered one of the top available quarterbacks if not the best. Starting 6 games in his last season with the Eagles, Vick had 77 completions on 141 attempts for 1,215 yards and 5 touchdowns to 3 interceptions.

Michael Vick has ranged from mediocre to above average throughout his career and his ceiling was almost certainly realized in his 2010-2011 resurgence with the Eagles. Michael Vick can probably push or even beat Geno Smith for the Jets starting position, but that's not saying much. Many believe Mark Sanchez would have and still could beat out the developmental Smith. I personally believe Smith might still progress into a viable starter or solid backup, he learned a lot in one season with a lousy offense, but that remains to be seen and at the current juncture any veteran competition likely has the edge.

Michael Vick has a great many charitable donations and community service to his credit. Vick also has lobbied to make supporting or attending dogfighting events a crime in his home state. Vick's less desirable exploits involved being connected to marijuana distribution, criminal activity within his entourage, and allegations of steroid use and knowingly transmitting herpes, which he (allegedly, the matter was settled out of court) notoriously sought treatment for under the alias of "Ron Mexico."

A positive side note, several of the surviving fighting dogs from Bad Newz Kennels have been rehabilitated and passed their good citizens tests. One of the most vicious fighters in the fighting ring Vick once bankrolled now listens to developmentally disabled children read to him. Something to feel good about.

In many ways, this move makes sense for the Jets if it were to happen. New York is one of the few locations outside of disaster franchises like the Browns or Jaguars where Michael Vick has a reasonable chance at starting and taking a team somewhere. Vick's best years were under the supervision of current Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. If I'm the general manager, however, I avoid making this move. At no fault of Vick's, I think he would be one of the players that bring familiar allegations of a circus atmosphere, which appeared to visibly affect the team and the fan base during the Tim Tebow debacle. The difference here is that Vick has credibility as a starter in the NFL and wouldn't be a gimmick signing.

A Michael Vick signing at this stage in his career strikes me as making a move for an older player with completion percentages and turnover susceptibility comparable to Mark Sanchez. Vick's progress in the pocket in his later career is very encouraging, however. Vick also retains some of the mobility from earlier in his career but like Geno Smith, Vick does not rely too heavily upon it.

I once said I would stop watching the Jets for the entirety of any Michael Vick tenure. I've since grown out of that position, partly thanks to attempting to take neutral positions as a writer. I would begrudgingly accept Vick as a part of the Jets so long as he can contribute, unlike recent Jets QB signings. That does not make me enthusiastic about this move, at all. Vick has lasted ONE entire season out of 11 played, and he missed two years while in prison. He has baggage, albeit most of it in the distant past. On top of that, Michael Vick is approaching the end of his career. Any value Vick has to the Jets is as a temporary stop gap at best. This is true of almost all of the free agency options in 2014. Vick does not command a large contract due to his decline in play, but he will be among the most high profile and expensive of the remaining free agency options at quarterback.

I vote do not pursue. Kevin Kolb and Nick Foles have flourished in Philly as well, I think a large amount of Vick's success can be attributed to the system he was in. Even considering that, Michael Vick is on the decline. Vick has been prone to injury and off field issues his entire career. His progress and professional comeback have been commendable, but the Jets can find another quarterback with a mid-50's completion percentage at a lower salary, minus the baggage.

What say you?

DISCLAIMER: The writer of this article likes dogs. A lot. Any opinions expressed or facts disseminated in the above article are the responsibility of the author alone and do not reflect the opinions or positions of ganggreennation.com or SBNation, or any of its staff, editors, or sponsors.

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