Since there is now a lot of buzz in a lot of NFL circles about the possibility of Michael Vick coming to the Jets, I felt this would be a good opportunity to break down what some of the positives and negatives could be. I know a lot of Jet fans are wary of the idea with good reason, and to be perfectly honest I am not in love with concept myself, but there is reason to break things down logically and analyze all possible outcomes.
Let’s start off with some pro’s
- Developing the younger player -The easiest and strongest argument to be made for the need of Michael Vick’s services has to be Geno Smith‘s development. Many people believe that a veteran presence for any developing player is an invaluable asset. Furthermore, if Vick can win the starting job, Geno can sit behind and learn from how Vick handles himself on the field, and one day step in more prepared. As much as there is to be said of having a veteran presence, there is even more to be said of the veteran player teaching a younger player by play on the field. Examples of how this approach has been succesful in the past include Joe Montana passing the torch to Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers leading the Pack to a Super Bowl after Brett Favre departed, and some would even argue Nick Foles taking over for Michael Vick in Philadelphia. Of course this all could be a moot point if Vick is solely interested in the advancement of his own career, which would lead him to care less about Geno’s development, and in a worst case scenario if Geno wins the job flat out Vick could even turn into a detriment in the locker room.
- He could help teach the offense – It is no secret that Vick and Marty Mornhinweg have a familiarity with each other. They spent four seasons together in Philadelphia and following Donovan McNabbs departure, led a pretty good offense together. Marty has spent only a year with the Jets, trying to teach new players his way of thinking offensively, and this upcoming season there is good reason to believe that a lot of these offensive players will be gone and Mornhinweg will have to start the teaching process over with a fresh batch of players. There will be several players of course who will have that one year experience in the new offensive system, but Vick has been with Marty long enough to hopefully see beyond the system and understand the way Marty thinks and why he puts plays together the way he does. With that knowledge and understanding in the locker room increases the chances our players will have to further understand Marty’s modified west coast offense.
- When healthy he’s actually kind of good – Many people out there will argue that Vick is coming to the end of his career, that he is past his prime and very injury prone on top of that. Many people could be right about this, but as far as we have seen thus far when Vick is healthy, and on the field he can make things happen. He has turned into an intelligent quarterback after his return to the league, and can effectively beat defenses with both his arm and his legs. If the Jets (who have one of, if not the best facility and training staff in the NFL) can keep Vick upright and healthy he can actually be a major contributor on the field in whatever role the Jets find for him. However, since his play has been in decline for a couple of years now, one has to wonder which way the trend will go, and the fact that the Jets, for now, have much fewer offensive weapons than the Eagles does not help the argument that Vick might have a year of resurgence.
Now for some of the con’s
- Declining player that is too high profile – As I mentioned in the above paragraph of how he is actually an effective quarterback, his stats are trending downwards, and while some of that might be attributed to the decline in play of his offensive line before Chip Kelly came in( Profootballfocus.com had them ranked the 2nd best offensive line in 2011 and 19th in 2012), some of the blame must rest on Vick’s shoulders. The fact that Michael Vick is a high profile guy who will draw added attention to the Jets doesn’t help his cause. Jet fans know how relentless the New York media can be when it comes to finding a headline, and they will have eyes locked on every practice and every word that leaves either Vick’s or Geno’s mouth. I would argue that this is not exactly the conducive environment Geno Smith will need to get to the next level and prove his worth to the Jets front office. In other words it could be a giant distraction in exchange for a player who has arguably seen the peak of his career.
- Time is money and money is also money – The New York Jets are a team in need of a lot of talent at a variety of positions, whether it is lack of quality now, or in preparation of departing players, the Jets will look to add as much talent to fill the wholes as they can this off season. Michael Vick would take away a roster spot, as well as a yet to be determined amount of money against the cap. Michael Vick will likely come cheap, but hoe cheap is cheap enough, especially considering the fact Vick might end up being just a back up to Geno. Furthermore there is another way in which Geno will cost the Jets and that is time. The front office has an enormous task in front of it every off season, between analyzing every possible player in the draft as well as those who might become UDFA’s, to monitoring every possibility in the free agency market, these guys have a long road of long days ahead of them. Since Vick is a higher profile guy, the deal will be a little more complicated then let’s say signing David Nelson, and will take more time and resources. Will that time dedicated to Vick, and taken away from the scouting of other potential Jets, be worth it in the long run is the question.