Michael Vick was tipped to be one of the hotter free agents this off-season. Sadly, following a distinct lack of interest in the veteran signal caller, all signs now point to the fact that his career may finally be drawing to a close.
The Philadelphia Eagles took a chance on Vick, following his release from prison in 2009. He repaid their faith in him by producing back-to-back 3000+ passing yard seasons in 2010 and 2011, adding 1265 rushing yards over the two-year stretch.
In 2012, injuries and age started to catch up with the veteran, and in 2013, it quickly became clear that Nick Foles, not Vick was Chip Kelly’s number one guy.
In 2014, as Vick entered the free agency market for the first time since his return to the NFL, he made clear that he intended to be an NFL starter. He was widely considered to be the best available free agent at his position, in spite of his age and questions about his durability, he was expected to have no shortage of potential suitors.
Multiple teams are in desperate need of help at quarterback. The Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raider, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets all had a need for a starting quarterback, but only the Jets have thus far even reached out to Vick—and then only as a potential backup and mentor to Geno Smith.
The Raiders are reportedly holding out hope that Mark Sanchez, one of the most reviled quarterbacks in the league, will be released by the Jets—a seeming inevitability—and be available for them. The Buccaneers signed Josh McCown, a player few view as more than a journeyman backup, without even speaking to Vick.
Worse still, the San Francisco 49ers, in need of a backup for Colin Kaepernick, decided it was preferable to trade a sixth-round pick for the much maligned Blaine Gabbert, and not to even entertain Vick. There is, of course, no guarantee that Vick would have been interested in a job as backup, even for a playoff caliber team like the 49ers, but that he was not even approached is telling.
Vick’s durability is a serious question for any team considering signing him. Any team vying for his services would need to know that they had a replacement ready to take over permanently at a moments notice. And in today’s NFL, any team with such a player on their roster would likely be willing to run with him, and let him learn by doing.
Vick will not get a starting job in 2014. Whether he will even get a shot as a backup remains very much in question. His only scheduled meeting is with the Jets, who have hardly proven to be proactive in the free agency market thus far.
If he went to the Jets, it would be as a backup to the younger Smith, on a contract which reflects this fact.
Though Smith has been far from impressive, the team seem to remain committed to the youngster. Smith, who is of a similar mold to Vick, would likely benefit from having a player like Vick mentor him, and the Jets are undoubtedly aware of this.
But this would not result in the playing time Vick desires. It would not re-ignite his career, barring an injury to Smith, something no player wants to pin their hopes on.
If Vick was to sign with New York, it would be to play the role of, what is essentially, a glorified trainer. In that case, it is impossible not to consider if he would be better served to call time on his playing career altogether, and formally starting his career as a coach.
If Vick does not get a serious offer, from a team he feels will give him a shot as a starter, then retirement may follow imminently for Vick, drawing to a close one of the most storied careers in the NFL.