Give Vick a Chance, Just Not in Jacksonville
Once a team signs Vick, which I believe will occur, he can participate in preseason practices and meetings. After serving 18 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring, the former Virginia Tech Hokie will be allowed to play in the last two preseason games.
However, when the NFL season begins, Vick can still continue to practice, but not play in games. Commissioner Goodell will reevaluate Vick for reinstatement by Week Six.
So, in essence, on top of his jail time and house arrest, Vick is suspended for six NFL regular-season games at the most.
Not surprisingly, Jacksonville has been mentioned at the top of the list of destinations for Vick.
ESPN analyst Herm Edwards has mentioned the First Coast as a potential home for Vick. In addition to Edwards, Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Perloff thinks Jacksonville might court Vick.
On Tuesday, Perloff, who is a regular on The Dan Patrick Show, listed the Jaguars first on his list of teams that “wouldn’t be surprising” to sign Vick. He wrote, “The Jags need some excitement and don’t have much to lose.”
I wholeheartedly agree that the Jaguars need excitement, but the team would place much on the line if Vick is signed.
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio doesn’t exactly have a lifelong contract. Also, I doubt the organization wants to risk the chance of another poor free agent signing.
If you somehow forgot last season, last year’s free agent busts Drayton Florence and Jerry Porter cost the Jaguars approximately $16.5 million in guaranteed money. The two are no longer with the Jags.
While those mistakes are in the past, they are not forgotten.
And, in my opinion, general manager Gene Smith is not willing to risk a potential collapse during his first year as GM.
Most importantly, Smith has focused on good character football players. Would-be locker room troubles are not on Smith’s radar.
Since Michael Vick has been out of the league for two full years, history would dictate that Vick will not be the player he once was.
While the 29-year-old has been in federal prison, he has been talked about as a potential running back or wide receiver. But, most likely, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback will fight for a backup quarterback position.
Hypothetically, if the Jaguars do sign Vick, he would vie for the backup role against recent free agent signee Todd Bouman.
Comparing Vick’s career statistics to career-backup Bouman’s stats is absolutely unfair to Bouman. In 13 seasons, Bouman has played in 42 regular-season games. In six seasons, Vick has started 67 games (played in a total of 74 games).
Vick’s career numbers say he would wrap up the position behind David Garrard on the depth chart. While he was in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, I bet Vick washed more pots and pans than he threw tight spirals. (During his time in Leavenworth, he did play prison football.)
Regardless of whether the NFL has made a fair and morally correct decision, I do not think Vick will sign with the Jaguars. While he could help the team, he is a too high-risk/high-reward type of player.
In my mind, with the Jaguars out of the Vick picture, I’ve come up with seven teams who I feel can become much better if he plays for them.
From my point of view, the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are all viable options.
The Bengals could sign Vick because the organization obviously isn’t afraid of any prison-related jokes.
Now, let’s be honest. Nobody really knows what Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will do next. He’s no stranger to signing troubled athletes. Most recently, Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson have graced that list.
The Denver Broncos could sign Vick because new head coach Josh McDaniels, 33, has nothing to lose. He has already lost Pro Bowler Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears. And, I’m quite sure Vick could beat out former Bear Kyle Orton and once-promising Chris Simms for the starting quarterback job.
Additionally, the Seattle Seahawks might come calling because Vick’s former Atlanta coach Jim Mora, Jr. is now Seattle’s head coach. In his first year, Mora could switch Vick in and out of games with backup quarterback/wide receiver Seneca Wallace. Furthermore, who knows, starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s back problems might be worse than anyone realizes.
At the top of my list of teams to acquire Michael Vick are the Minnesota Vikings and the Houston Texans.
Even if Vick cannot win the backup role from former Florida Gator Rex Grossman or ex-Detroit Lion Dan Orlovsky (Matt Schaub will be the starter), he can play receiver alongside Andre Johnson.
Although offense hasn’t truly been the Texans’ problem recently, Vick and Johnson (who I consider the best wide receiver in the NFL) would be exhilarating on the same field. With two consecutive 8-8 seasons, a player like Vick could make the Texans’ predicted playoff push a reality.
Finally, the Minnesota Vikings would thrive if they signed Michael Vick. After the failed acquisition of Wrangler-wearing Brett Favre, the Vikings need a pick-me-up.
With a top-notch defense and Adrian Peterson in its backfield, the Vikings need a quarterback with some talent. You need your head examined if you believe Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels can be the one.
Of course, Vick might go where the most money is offered.
Remember, he has been working on a second Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan. The first one was rejected in April.
In the end, Vick will choose a combination of playing time and money. Time heals all wounds, but, for Vick, he needs money to heal everything else.
Since the NFL has granted Vick this second chance, we too should give him the opportunity to prove his true character.
However, Michael Vick’s only reason for having an extended stay in Jacksonville should be to volunteer at the Jacksonville Humane Society.