At 33 years old, Michael Vick is an aging quarterback that has made a career largely derived from his athleticism both in and outside the pocket. Before Nick Foles burst onto the scene, it looked as if the Eagles may have some interest in bringing Vick back to the Eagles following this season, but with Foles clearly flourishing in the Eagles’ offense, there’s now little room for Michael Vick on the roster, especially at this season’s rate of about $7.5 million.
At a reasonable rate, Michael Vick could be a hot name in free agency. While this year’s quarterback crop is expected to be significantly superior compared to last year’s weak bunch, there will still be a number of teams in the market for a stop-gap player that can give them 3 – 5 solid seasons while a younger player develops. That market may become Vick’s best bet.
While it’s still too early to say anything definitive, the Buffalo Bills stand out as a team that makes a lot of sense as a landing team for Vick. First and foremost, the Bills’ offense is designed to be considerably more up-temp than we’ve seen in previous seasons, and the Bills have been somewhat successful packing more plays into each game.
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The other factor that seems to support the idea that Buffalo may look to bring Michael Vick into the fold relates directly to their current quarterback situation, which is flooded with raw talent. That’s great for the future, but right now, the Bills desperately need their young quarterbacks to develop, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Bringing Vick in could buy them enough time to develop a stable of solid quarterbacks, creating depth at a position of great shortage around the league.
At this point in his career, it seems likely that Michael Vick is also interested in the prospect of winning himself a Lombardi Trophy. Interestingly enough, the Bills may not be in bad shape there either.
The AFC East is in a period of transition. The Bills are clearly a competitive team in the division, but they’re not quite there yet. The Patriots, who have dominated the division for a decade, seem to be on the decline, and we know that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won’t be around forever, leaving an opening for a new hegemonic power in the East. While that day isn’t here just yet, it’s surely on its way, and the Patriots have no clear direction for a post-Brady world just yet.
The Bills will have to be willing to pay a pretty penny to bring Vick on board. There’s little doubt Vick will demand less money in free agency than the Eagles paid him to keep him on board through 2013, but he’ll be expected to be the starter for the team that signs him. In addition, he’ll be expected to help E.J. Manuel in his development with the Bills.
There’s also no guarantee that other teams won’t drive the Bills’ costs too high in hopes of snagging Vick themselves. It’s a safe bet that teams like the Jaguars and Buccaneers will pick up a quarterback in the draft, but other teams such as the Rams and Vikings are on less certain ground. Those teams may hope to bring Vick aboard as insurance in case their current quarterbacks of choice don’t pan out.
Obviously, Michael Vick is still in Philadelphia, and if Foles fizzles out, the Eagles may choose to bring back Vick and move forward with him. With Foles killing it on Sundays, however, that possibility is becoming more and more remote. As the end of the season draws nearer, expect some hints to begin floating around concerning Vick’s preference, and don’t be surprised if the Bills give him a call. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense on paper, and it would instantly propel the Bills into contention with the Patriots and Jets in the AFC East.
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No way Vick stays with the Eagles as a starter, and it has nothing to do with what Foles does or does not do from this point forward. Vick is positioned to be the best back-up QB in the league. Period. He's not going to relegate a young talent like E.J. Manuel to the bench in Buffalo. It's not going to happen.
Every team in the league is looking to develop a "franchise quarterback", including the Eagles. Vick is past his prime in that role. Nearly every team is looking to the 2014 Draft to find their franchise QB. They will spend their money there rather than invest in an aging Vick who continually runs into traumatic injury after injury. It is time to accept the reality that Vick, as naturally gifted as he may be, is not suited to a 16-game season in the NFL. His time is up.
The Eagles will release Vick at the end of the 2013 season. He will be approached by a team that wants a veteran backup, and he will either settle for the veteran minimum salary or he will retire. It's as simple as that. No way any team in the NFL will build its offense around Vick ever again. That's just good business.