On Friday afternoon, the New York Jets made a move that was long in the making, as they released Mark Sanchez and signed Michael Vick to a one year, $5 million deal. And while the deal may be a bit questionable in some circles, it will ultimately lead to Vick guiding the Jets to a playoff berth and at least to the AFC Championship game.
The one thing that has plagued Vick in the past is his durability, and there is simply no telling how this will play out with the Jets. Only once in his career has the 33 year old ever play 16 games in a season, although he has played 15 games three different times and has generally looked to be a guy that can play 13-15 games a year. This may not be a perfect scenario, but it doesn’t harm the Jets as much as it could in the fight for the playoffs.
Positives that stem from Vick going to the Jets is the offensive threat that he brings to the team, one which they haven’t ever truly had under Rex Ryan. Even at the advanced age of 33, the quarterback still has a dynamic set of legs that is hard to put into words, and in recent years, he has actually been hampered more by an inability to keep his legs healthy than succumbing to foolish injuries running the ball. Furthermore, he has shown an ability to approach a 60% completion percentage, and genuinely looks to want to be a guy that relies on throwing the ball now.
When you combine what Vick actually does have to offer on the field with what the Jets have in terms of personnel, there is no doubting the two are a perfect fit. New York has one of the best defenses in all of the NFL, and one that truly looks destined to rank amongst the best as long as Ryan is the head coach in town. And while offense hasn’t been a strong suit during the coach’s tenure, the recent addition of Eric Decker brought in a consistent pass catcher that will aid Vick in his transition. The Jets also ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing yards per game in 2013.
There will surely be some who are disappointed that the Jets aren’t giving Geno Smith an opportunity to stay on as the starting quarterback in town, but Ryan has to win to keep his job, and Vick helps fulfill this goal. For a team that finished one game out of the last playoff spot in the AFC in 2013, it is clear that the Jets are now a much better team. A healthy Vick will not only ensure a playoff run, but might even mean another AFC Championship Game appearance.