Whether he realizes it or not, this very well could be Michael Vick‘s last opportunity to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
This offseason, just 24 hours before needing to make a decision whether to pick up his roster bonus or outright release him without any cap penalty, the Philadelphia Eagles elected to restructure Vick’s contract and guarantee him only $3.5 million in new money if he is on the roster opening night against the Washington Redskins.
Rather than test the free agent market in a year where quarterback movement was prevalent across the league, Vick chose to accept the Eagles offer and by extension, his place in the team’s quarterback competition that was outlined by head coach Chip Kelly upon h is hiring on January 17.
Perhaps, now, after a month of OTAs and a week of minicamp that has seen the first-team and overall repetition distribution become an even split and on most days slightly favoring Nick Foles, Vick may be having some buyer’s remorse.
Vick told CSNPhilly.com that he hoped Kelly would name a starter before training camp opens July 22 in order to avoid the distraction of answering daily questions about the quarterback competition.
“I have to continue to be a professional and put my feelings and emotions to the side,” Vick told the pack of reporters after Thursday’s final practice at the Novacare Complex before training camp opens next month. “But it’s hard. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t, but that’s just what I have to deal with.”
Whether Vick likes it or not, there will not be a starting quarterback named prior to camp, and if one listens to Kelly (who has outlined this competition from day one), there may not be a starter announced prior to kickoff against the Redskins on September 9.
“We haven’t gotten any indication about the quarterback spot,” Kelly pointed out last week. “It’s all about getting reps on tape and we will continue with that through training camp. Why would we name a starting quarterback in May? That’s a monumental decision that we haven’t even started talking about yet.”
All indications are that the only reason the Eagles retained Vick was to allow Kelly to kick the tires on the 33-year-old veteran and see if his skill set matches the first year head coach’s scheme, and it is quite presumptuous for Vick to even assume that he would be named the starter considering that he missed six games due to a concussion last year and only finished one full 16-game season in his career.
Also, he has not won a playoff game since 2004, only completed 60 percent of his passes once and threw for over 3,000 yards just twice in his 12-year career.
This is nothing new, though, from Vick.
Perhaps one will recall Vick explaining last season that he had learned and planned to slide more frequently to lessen the hits he takes on a weekly basis. Turns out, that was window dressing, and he suffered a concussion while on the run against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11.
This time around, he proclaimed that his battle with fumbles was solved, thanks to Kelly’s wisdom.
“He told me, ‘Hold it like this,’ ” Vick said. “I tried it, and it felt good.”
For once though, with a new head coach in town who has no loyalty to keep him around, Vick would be wise to put the team first rather than create a circus side show because his ego and starting position on the roster are not being massaged to his liking.
Since the day he was hired, Kelly expressed that be it Foles, Dennis Dixon, and even Matt Barkley along with Vick, the ultimate goal is to find the QB would be most suited to run his offense.
Perhaps Vick never got that memo.
Whatever the case, Vick would be wise to buy in to the program, or he could find himself on the outside looking in and this time, maybe for good.
Matt Lombardo is also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.
* All quotes obtained first hand