Michael Vick is headed to free agency next month, and it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles have no interest in re-signing him. With Vick on the open market, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the two teams most interested in the 34 year old quarterback. The link to the Jets is obvious, as offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg worked with Vick for four years in Philly. However, adding Vick would be a big mistake by the Jets.
For starters, Vick has never been able to stay healthy. He has played in 16 games just once in his career, way back in 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons. His style of play leads him to take a lot of hits, and as he continues to get older there is no reason to think his health will improve. Unfortunately, his running ability is what makes Vick a dynamic quarterback, so the risk of injury is never going to go away.
The Jets need to bring in competition for Geno Smith this offseason, but Vick is not competition, just an outright replacement. Replacing Smith is not necessarily a bad thing, but Vick is obviously no more than a two year solution, if by some miracle he stays healthy. That means that when Vick gets hurt the Jets will have to turn back to Smith, creating a situation that destroys the young quarterback’s confidence and possibly his respect for the coaching staff.
Adding Vick still moves the Jets no closer to having a franchise quarterback. The Jets were one of the youngest teams in the NFL this season, and they are still trying to build a team that can sustain long term success. There is absolutely no scenario in which Vick forwards that agenda. Maybe he comes in and is successful for a year or two (I doubt it, honestly), but then the Jets are right back to square one.
Finally, there isn’t a lot of evidence that this version of Vick is going to be a huge improvement over Smith. Smith’s biggest issue was turnovers, obviously, as he threw 21 interceptions and fumbled 7 times in 16 games, good for a 1.75 turnovers per game average. In 2011 and 2012, his last two full seasons as the Eagles starter, Vick averaged 1.85 and 2.1 turnovers per game, respectively. Vick’s completion percentage has also declined the last three seasons, and Smith’s completion percentage was actually higher than Vick’s this season.
This just covers the football side of the problems with Vick, as he is still a public relations nightmare because of his dog fighting arrest and incarceration. The Jets are a team that is just starting to move past a general negative public perception, and adding Vick would obviously hurt that. Add all that up, and there is just no good reason to bring in Vick. The Jets would be much better served improving their wide receiver and tight end positions and giving Smith a chance to develop. The Jets need to bring in a veteran quarterback as well, but they should stay far away from Vick.