One of the most talked about offseason moves was the New York Jets’ decision to sign quarterback Michael Vick, who is the next player to appear on our ranking of the Jets’ top 25 players. Vick was signed to a one year, $4 million contract to compete with incumbent starter Geno Smith. Vick’s name carries more weight than his skills at this point in his career, but he still has the talent to make an impact if given the opportunity.
Vick lost his starting job to Nick Foles last season with the Philadelphia Eagles due to a combination of injury and ineffectiveness. Vick completed 54.6% of his passes for 1,215 yards, 5 TDs and 3 INTs while carrying 36 times for 306 yards and 2 TDs in parts of seven games last season, marking his third straight season of decline. His brilliant comeback performance in 2010 is a distant memory, and Vick has thrown just 35 touchdowns compared to 27 interceptions over the last three seasons. When combined with his always present fumbling issues and extremely questionable injury history, relying on Vick looks like a risky proposition for the Jets.
Right now, the Jets have made it abundantly clear that Smith is the starting quarterback unless he implodes or Vick dazzles. However, Vick’s recent struggles pale in comparison to the disaster that was Smith’s rookie season, and it is pretty clear that at this point in their careers Vick is still a better player. However, Smith could still develop into the Jets’ quarterback of the future, which is why he should be the favorite for the starting job.
That being said, Vick has still shown flashes of what he is capable of, and he could make an impact for the Jets this season. Vick remains a very dangerous running quarterback, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets use him in a Wildcat type of role this season (something Rex Ryan has hinted at). If Vick does end up being the full time starter, he will need to cut back on the turnovers significantly in order for the Jets to compete for a playoff spot, which is the same criticism that Smith faces.
Although there are quite a few concerns about Vick, he is still a capable NFL quarterback and the best one the Jets have. That doesn’t mean he will start, and he probably shouldn’t for the rebuilding Jets. However, he has done enough in recent seasons to prove that he can still play, and he deserves his spot on this list.