Signing Michael Vick would make perfect sense for Jets
Bob GlauberBob Glauber
Glauber has been Newsday's national football columnist since 1992. He
He is an established quarterback with playoff experience.
His arm strength is terrific, as is his mobility -- even if that mobility sometimes leaves him exposed to injury.
He's totally familiar with the offensive coordinator's system.
And he has shown that he is the consummate teammate, whether he's the starter after winning the job in training camp or the backup after someone else takes his job.
So tell me: Is there any compelling reason for the Jets not to sign Michael Vick? Especially with the Jets looking as if they're about to cut ties with Mark Sanchez? (He's due a $2-million roster bonus on Tuesday, part of an $11-million compensation package for 2014.)
There is not.
In fact, it is a perfectly sensible move for the Jets to make. If they do agree to terms with Vick after he visits with the team on Friday, they will be a better team for it.
Think about how good a fit Vick would be: At age 33, he's still young enough to be a viable quarterback, either as a starter or as Geno Smith's backup. He knows offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's system better than any quarterback on the Jets' roster, having worked with him with the Eagles.
Vick showed last year that he would not be a locker-room disruption regardless of whether he starts. After being replaced by Nick Foles, Vick took the demotion like a true professional and did not make one wave in the locker room after Chip Kelly made the call.
"Awesome" was how one member of the Eagles' staff termed Vick's demeanor after Kelly named Foles his permanent starter on Nov. 26. Not once did Vick say anything that could be construed as divisive, and he lent his full support to Foles, who was terrific in running Kelly's offense.
If you're worried that there would be more of the controversy that surrounded Vick upon his return to the NFL after serving prison time for his involvement in an illegal dogfighting ring, don't be. Vick has rehabilitated himself, he's open about how wrong his behavior was, and he has become an advocate against animal cruelty.
On the field, Vick is a vibrant player who is good enough to get to the playoffs, as he showed when coach Andy Reid anointed him over Kevin Kolb in 2010. Vick had a career year with 21 touchdown passes and six interceptions. A year later, he leveled off, as did the rest of the Eagles, referred to as "The Dream Team" because of so many free-agent signings.
Vick was troubled by injuries the following year, although the entire team bottomed out in Reid's last season. Vick won the starting job over Foles last season and played well early, but then more injuries and Foles' excellence kept him on the bench.
Vick is looking for a fresh start, and all he asks is a chance to compete for the starting job. With the Jets offering no assurances to Smith that he'll be handed the No. 1 spot this season, there's nothing wrong with bringing in Vick for a competition in training camp. If he can beat out Smith, so be it. If not, Smith will have proved himself worthy in fending off a strong challenge.
General manager John Idzik talks about creating competition at every position, so here's a good opportunity. As for Sanchez, who is coming off shoulder surgery, it's time for him to get a fresh start with a new organization. He has been a good soldier during his five seasons with the Jets, but a change of scenery will benefit him. The Raiders and Browns are interested.
All Vick asks is to have a chance at being a starter again. The Jets ought to give him that opportunity. Open up the competition in training camp, and may the best man win.
Either way, the Jets will be better at the quarterback position. Either Smith holds off Vick and shows he's ready to take a major step forward in his development, or Vick recaptures his form under Mornhinweg and gives the Jets a playoff-caliber quarterback in 2014.