Michael Vick would immediately become the most competent quarterback on the New York Jets’ 53-man roster if they were to sign him. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Jets’ general manager John Idzik has been extremely deliberate in free agent negotiations this offseason. The Jets are armed with an arsenal of draft picks and copious amounts of salary cap space, but will not adopt a frivolous approach to rebuilding. That realization has caused a stir among Jets nation. Fans are livid over Idzik’s relative inactivity this offseason.
That could soon change, despite the Jets missing out on several highly coveted free agents, specifically at cornerback. The Jets remain without a top-tier coverage corner, but are rumored to be in serious discussions with veteran quarterback Michael Vick, who would ideally supply the team with value as a backup signal-caller and mentor to Geno Smith.
The Jets are at a crossroads in respect to second-rate QB Mark Sanchez, who is due a $2 million roster bonus on March 25. The team is aggressively trying to acquire Vick, which would allow them to grant Sanchez his outright release without serious roster ramifications. New York does not want to be left without an experienced quarterback on their roster. According to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, there is a “70 percent” chance that Vick signs with the Jets.
Vick took a backseat to surging starting QB Nick Foles with the Philadelphia Eagles last season. He was relatively productive in six starts in 2013, despite his team winning just two games during that span. Vick registered a 54.6 percent completion percentage for 1,215 yards and five touchdowns before succumbing to injury, which unofficially ended his season. In comparison, Smith completed 55.8 percent of his pass attempts for 3,046 yards with just 12 touchdowns in 16 starts last season.
The biggest roadblock hindering the Jets from striking a deal with Vick could be the distinct likelihood that the former Eagles’ starter is in pursuit of an opportunity to reclaim a first string role. The Jets haven’t made a concrete commitment to Smith in 2014, although it would be somewhat outlandish for them to unnecessarily stall his development. The Jets are not going to be Super Bowl contenders next season, regardless of whether they’re able to significantly improve their 53-man roster over the course of the offseason.
Vick would be a solid backup option for the Jets. The 11-year veteran owns a 58-48-1 career record as a starter and still possesses a valuable skill set that could help propel Smith to reach his full potential. The Jets remain unsure if Smith has the talents needed to develop into a legitimate franchise quarterback. He flashed signs of serious promise in his rookie season, leading the NFL with five game-winning drives. Adding a player like Vick, who shares a similar style of gameplay as Smith, has potential to pay dividends.
The Jets have a flawed history of experimenting with “quarterback competition,” but they’re in dire need of an experienced backup signal-caller. The Jets desperately want to unload Sanchez’s ugly contract and officially commence the healing process from a failed era. Adding Vick to the roster would allow the Jets to unload Sanchez and take strides toward determining whether Smith is the long-term solution under center.