And this soap opera will take place where? New York, of course.
Vick was a free agent without a home until the New York Jets gave the quarterback a chance, signing him to a one-year deal worth $5 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Vick officially signed with the Jets on Friday. (On his way out of Philadelphia, Vick offered a farewell letter to Eagles fans via philly.com.)
As a result of Vick’s signing, the Jets released former first-round draft pick Mark Sanchez after five seasons with the team.
"It means a lot to have the chance to come in and play for a great organization that had a lot of success last year and being on the brink of doing some good things," Vick told the team website. "Maybe I can come here and be an asset whenever my number's called. I'm excited, I'm elated, and I feel like this is a great opportunity for me and my family."
The Jets appeared to be the only team interested in Vick. Tampa Bay signed Josh McCown, the Raiders traded for Matt Schaub, Houston got Ryan Fitzpatrick, and San Francisco acquired Blaine Gabbert through a trade.
"We are excited to acquire Michael Vick," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who was Vick's offensive coordinator for four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (via the team’s website). "He's a great talent who's won many games, including playoff games, in this league. He has the respect of both his teammates and opponents. He's here in a role where he’s going to compete and push Geno Smith to become the very best that he can be. Michael will be able to go in and play at a high level and a winning level if called upon."
The acquisition of Vick says a lot about New York’s lack of confidence in Geno Smith.
While Jets coaches will try to spin it and say Vick was signed to create competition, Smith will be forced to look over his shoulder throughout the 2014 season, even if he does win the quarterback competition.
Michael Vick: "I plan to compete with Geno... and push Geno as hard as I can" #Nyj
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 21, 2014
Smith struggled as a rookie, throwing 12 touchdowns, 21 interceptions and fumbled eight times (lost four). Smith was even benched because of his constant struggles.
Vick will be given the opportunity to beat Smith for the job. Jets coach Rex Ryan agreed to an extension through the 2015 season. Considering most coaches are fired or extended before their final year, it makes this season another do-or-die campaign for Ryan. Vick provides a quality option if Ryan is uncomfortable with Smith as an opening day starter. Even if Smith wins the competition, Ryan has a veteran quarterback he could turn to.
The main problem Ryan faces is Vick’s lack of dependability.
Vick has not played in all 16 games of a season since 2006 with the Falcons. He appeared in five games last season before suffering a hamstring injury. Vick missed two games and sustained another hamstring injury.
In addition, Vick has struggled as a starter.
Vick’s record is 5-11 over the past two years, and he was 2-3 in 2013. He had 57 touchdown passes, 13 rushing touchdowns and 33 interceptions with the Eagles. He also fumbled 36 times during five seasons in Philadelphia. Vick’s turnovers and health issues are likely why he received only a one-year contract, but the Jets are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.
The same cannot be said for Sanchez.
New York fell in love with Sanchez prior to the 2009 NFL draft. He was the second quarterback selected (fifth overall pick) that year and expected to revitalize the franchise. Sanchez participated in consecutive AFC championship games, largely due to New York's outstanding defense, during his first two seasons, but struggled with turnovers.
During Sanchez’s four years as a starter, he threw 68 touchdown passes, 69 interceptions and recorded 43 fumbles (20 lost, including the infamous "butt fumble"). Sanchez had a 55.1 completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 71.7. He was replaced by Smith as a starter last season.
Now Smith could be replaced by Vick.
The soap opera continues.
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