Michael Vick faces an uncertain future as he enters unrestricted free agency (Image Courtesy of BusinessInsiders.com)
Michael Vick is 33 years old and will be 34 years old when the first game of the 2014 NFL season begins. What does the future hold for Michael Vick?
There will be options for the 11-year veteran. In the NFL, quarterback is a premium position that many teams do not have. Furthermore, having a quarterback with a history of success and starting experience is not a luxury that all NFL teams currently have.
Take a look in Cleveland where former general manager Joe Banner now resides. The Browns went through three quarterbacks this year, including starting then benching 2012 first round pick Brandon Weedon. The Browns then started and benched him again, and now it appears his future there is in doubt with a third coaching change in three years.
How about Jacksonville, who has likely gone as far as they can with former first round draft pick Blaine Gabbert. Chad Henne finished the year as the starter for the Jags in part because of Gabbert’s injuries and ineffectiveness. You’d have to imagine that Jacksonville would love to have the talented and explosive Vick, if only to put fans in the seats.
Another team looking for a quarterback could be the Oakland Raiders. After their play this season, it doesn’t appear that Terrelle Pryor or Matt McGloin are the answer at QB. Had this been three years ago, it would be a foregone conclusion that Al Davis would attempt to sign Michael Vick. But Davis has since passed and Oakland has a different look in the front office.
It has been reported that both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets (where former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg coaches) would be interested in the unrestricted free agent. Both the Bucs and Jets spent second day picks on quarterbacks in last year’s draft.
What does not help Vick are the number of quarterbacks coming out of college this year. Underclassman quarterbacks will dominate the draft, as Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, and Johnny Manziel as all predicted to go in the first round of May’s NFL draft. With so many quarterbacks entering the draft, the veteran Vick will have his suitors cut in half by the NFL draft.
Which brings us to the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, Michael Vick stated on 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missinelli show that he “wants to start,” and that he “just can’t see (myself) as a backup.”
But what if there were no other options?
Let's say that the Eagles pass on a quarterback in the draft and still are not quite comfortable with Matt Barkley backing up Nick Foles. Is it so completely asinine to think that the Virginia Tech product could return to Philadelphia?
Let's think about this for a second. MV7 has been a model citizen in a town with a rabid fan base for the last five years. He has reinvented himself and his career under the Eagles brand. Furthermore, Michael Vick has been a leader in the locker room for a team devoid of leaders.
Recently, the Virginia native came out and said that the quarterback competition in training camp did not help push him, but rather distracted him from focusing on the season. Furthermore, regarding another quarterback competition, Vick said “I don’t think I would lose a quarterback competition.”
Michael Vick wants to be a starter. In Philadelphia, there does not appear to be an opportunity, barring injury. In Nick Foles, the Eagles have a capable starter, although he has yet to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season, suffering a broken hand in 2012 and a concussion in 2013. A starting job is only one injury away.
Although a return to Philadelphia for the veteran quarterback in 2014 seems unlikely, stranger things have happened. Michael Vick brings with him a skill set that head coach Chip Kelly covets, but also brings with him an injury risk to which other teams may not want to hitch their wagon. So why not return to Philly, a place that he feels comfortable and knows the system?
Believe it or not, a reunion may not be out of the question for the former superstar. But for now, Michael Vick will continue to rebuild his brand and say the right things, all while figuring out an unknown future.
Hal Greenblatt covers the Eagles for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter: @HMGreenblatt