The onset of the 2014 NFL free agency period is nigh upon us, so it’s time to start thinking about where a few of the bigger names available on the market could be headed.
By name alone, there will be no more recognizable name than Michael Vick, of course, despite the fact that his best playing days are probably in the rearview mirror. That said, he could still latch-on somewhere and compete for a starting job.
As has been the case often times throughout his career, Vick’s season last year was cut short by injuries, before he was eventually Wally Pipp’d by Nick Foles, who went on to lead the Eagles to an NFC East title and playoff appearance.
In 7 games in 2013, the 33-year-old Vick completed just under 55% of his throws for 1,215 yards and 5 touchdowns with 3 interceptions. He also ran the ball 36 times for 306 yards and another 2 scores with 4 total fumbles.
His fit in the highfalutin’ Chip Kelly offense looked natural early last season, though his effectiveness waned as the season progressed. Now, he’s looking for a new home.
Let’s check out a few teams that may be interested in his services:
The Raiders are an inept mess, so it’ll be hilarious when they inevitably bring Vick into the Black Hole. They’re clearly in need of a quarterback, as Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin manned the position for them last season. Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin barely belong on NFL rosters, let alone actually playing quarterback for you.
Oakland’s offense looked decent at times with the speedy Pryor at the helm, so perhaps Vick can bring that aspect back. One would imagine the Raiders will be looking to take a quarterback at some point in the upcoming QB-heavy draft, but they reportedly have interest in the veteran to possibly mentor a draftee. According to CBS’ Jason La Canfora, Oakland is monitoring several veteran quarterbacks expected to be available.
New York Jets
The Jets are apparently looking for a player to come in and “push” Geno Smith for the starting gig next season, so perhaps this would also be a nice landing spot for Vick. Smith had his fair share of ups-and-downs (mostly downs) in his rookie year for the Jets last season, but the team didn’t really have anyone else on the roster capable of replacing him.
Smith isn’t a very good scrambler, and with the dearth of dynamic offensive playmakers around him, the Jets’ offense was quite underwhelming in 2013. While Vick isn’t good enough to come in and transform them into the Broncos or anything, he could still add an interesting dimension the New York offense has lacked since Brad Smith left a few years back.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccos were a laughingstock at the beginning of last season, though did rally to win a few games down-the-stretch with rookie Mike Glennon at the helm. Tampa now has a new coaching staff led by former Bears coach Lovie Smith, and perhaps they’re not sold on Glennon as the team’s long term solution at quarterback.
This is a team with a few very strong offensive weapons in Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and Doug Martin, so perhaps inserting a dual-threat like Vick could make them a potent unit. Or it could blow-up in their faces and they’ll careen toward another 4-12 dumpster fire of a season. There isn’t much middle ground with ol’ Mike Vick.
The Vikings have already lost Matt Cassel to free agency, and it’d be surprising if Josh Freeman if they retained Josh Freeman, who is also on the market. That leaves the underwhelming Christian Ponder as the lone passer on Minnesota’s roster. At this point, with the end of Adrian Peterson’s prime on the horizon, the Vikings have to start seriously trying to contend. Ponder has shown flashes, but it’s hard to imagine him suddenly developing enough to make them a serious Super Bowl threat.
Not that Michael Vick does that, either, but at least he’s an upgrade. Cordarrelle Patterson emerged late last season as a potential game-breaking offensive talent, and Kyle Rudolph is a pretty capable pass-catching tight end, particularly in red zone situations. There are pieces here with which to work, for sure.
San Francisco 49ers
Keep an eye on this one. Colin Kaepernick is obviously firmly entrenched as the starter, but the team’s backup last season was Colt McCoy. If anything were to happen to Kaepernick, that ship would sink faster than Chris Christie’s presidential chances.
If the team were to bring Vick in, at least they have a player similar to Kaep in style. Gun for an arm, amazing running ability. Colt McCoy probably shouldn’t be the No. 2 QB on a team vying to win championships. It’s a pretty natural fit, and Vick could benefit from playing under a coach like Jim Harbaugh. Assuming, of course, the 49ers don’t run Harbaugh out of town in between now and then.
However, Vick will likely seek a team that can give him an opportunity to start, and will look for a team that can pay him starter-type money. San Francisco obviously isn’t offering that kind of opportunity.
*Photo credit – Matthew Straubmuller via Flickr.