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Could Michael Vick remain in Philly beyond 2013—as a backup?

Nov 13, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

foles-vick-presser

Suppose Nick Foles plays well enough over the final six games in 2013 that the Eagles aren’t pigeonholed into drafting another quarterback. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but it’s not automatically the top priority going in.

Between Foles and Matt Barkley, Philadelphia has two quarterbacks under contract for next season. Most teams carry three, so assuming the Eagles don’t draft one, they need to sign a free agent—and who would be better suited for the job than Michael Vick?

Seriously. Vick already knows the system. He still has a cannon where his left arm is supposed to be, he can still run around and make things happen when he’s healthy. He was having an okay season until it was derailed by a hamstring injury. He’s proven he can win games in the NFL. He’s a great leader—underrated in fact. He’s perfect.

Even if the Eagles were interested in re-signing him, most people expect Vick to depart for a chance to catch on as a starter somewhere else. Well, what if nobody is willing to offer that opportunity to a 34-year-old quarterback entering his 12th season? That doesn’t sound far-fetched at all when you frame it like that.

And even if Vick is able to land a another starting gig, what does that situation look like? Who’s to say the Eagles don’t provide the best opportunity to make an impact in the NFL?

If Vick is going to be a backup somewhere, why not with the organization that helped him revive his career? Why not with Chip Kelly, whose offense fits Vick’s skill set? Why not with an up-and-coming franchise that appears poised to make some noise over the next few years?

Vick could potentially be coming on in relief during a playoff game somewhere down the road if he plays his cards right.

The four-time Pro Bowler has proven time and time again that he can accept the backup role. You know that he wants nothing more than to be out on the field leading his team to victory, but he’s never once complained about being on the bench. Not when he was behind Donovan McNabb, not when he was behind Kevin Kolb, and not now that he’s likely stuck behind Foles.

Actually, it was Vick’s response to Foles’ ascension that got me thinking he could return. The 11-year veteran has been nothing but supportive of all of his teammates, including the 24-year-old kid taking his job. Vick vowed on Tuesday that he wasn’t going to become a distraction. Via Jeff McLane of the Inquirer:

DO YOU STILL THINK THAT YOU’RE THE STARTER?

I don’t know. That’s not something that I’m thinking about at this point. The last thing I want to be is a distraction to this team. I’m just working hard to get myself healthy.

BUT HAVEN’T YOU SAID THAT YOU’VE ALWAYS CONSIDERED YOURSELF A STARTER?

I do consider myself a starter, but if coach has a viable explanation or good reason for why it should be anything different, I got to understand that. He’s the coach. I’m the player. One thing about it, I’m confident in my abilities. We all know what I can do when I’m out there. I’m just an asset to this team as long as I’m here.

Vick also told Martin Frank of The Delaware News Journal that’s he’s “proud” of what Foles has accomplished. He’s not content to merely take on the role of cheerleader, either.

Vick has seen that improvement, and he plans to help Foles improve even more.

“Whatever I can do to help him, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.

Perhaps a bigger issue than Vick wanting or not wanting to return is whether the organization would leave room for him. Regardless of whether it’s in round one or seven, if the front office intends to draft a quarterback, there goes that roster spot. And if they like what they’ve seen from Barkley, they may not want to block a developing young player with such a high-profile backup.

If the Eagles have their eyes on the Super Bowl in their short-term future though, they would be wise to keep a veteran backup in the fold. We’re four months away from the opening of free agency, but it’s hard to envision there could be a better option or fit.

Of course, there’s a lot to sort out before any of this becomes a reality. Foles needs to make the organization feel comfortable sticking with him through next season at least, and backup or starter, Vick shouldn’t have any trouble finding work this spring. Just don’t rule out the Eagles as the employer.

  1. J - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Don’t resign him, he will just be a distraction like he has been since he got here.

    Reply
  2. Mark432 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    The fact that you’re talking about this now means you’ll be talking about it next year when this organization is supposed to finally move on from Reid, McNabb, etc. Kelly will have a year under his belt and there will be a new QB whether it be Foles or a Draftee. If I were the Birds I’d even go back to the old kelly green unis and logo full time next year. Start a new era.

    Reply
    • Scott B - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      please send a letter to Lurie in the mail. Love the idea of bringing back the “old” birds

      Reply
    • Andrew - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      I’d love to see Foles in Kelly Green. Dude looks just like Jaws. He could even wear that slick two-line face mask. White turf shoes. Sweet!!

      Reply
  3. Andrew - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    While I agree with J that Vick can be a bit bit of a distraction (Tebowish even), he is usually pretty phenomenal coming off the bench.

    Reply
    • Andrew - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      I’m just tired of the Foles vs Vick narrative. So boring. And it’s a shame. I think Vick isn’t personally distracting but the story is tough to escape. But really, does it matter if it’s Vick or Barkley or any other backup? When Foles struggles, and there will be days, won;t any backup present the same issue?

      Reply
      • Andrew Kulp - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:10 PM

        I think we’ve moved past Vick vs. Foles at this point, and if he came back next year, I don’t there would be a Vick vs. Foles storyline then either. I’m not talking about an open competition or if Foles struggles quick go back to Vick. One guy is the starter, one guy is the backup, that’s the arrangement.

        I wouldn’t even go so far to say that it’s been a “distraction” for the team this year since all of the QB swapping has been entirely the result of injuries. It certainly hasn’t look like it’s been a distraction for the team, has it?

        A distraction is when one guy is sulking and it creates a rift in the locker room. Merely having two guys people like to talk about does not qualify as a distraction in my mind.

      • Mark432 - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:43 PM

        @Kulp

        Oh yes there’d be a Foles-Vick conversation. Too many Vick fans not to be. You can’t keep him around after this season.

      • willh888 - Nov 14, 2013 at 7:59 AM

        too many vick fans? Where?

  4. db21 - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    What do the Bills, Packers, Rams, Titans, Vikings, and many others have in common? They don’t have a backup quarterback who is capable of wining games. If we keep Vick, we’ll have a backup quarterback who can step in and run the offense similar to Foles.

    As long as Vick keeps his act up and patiently waits for his turn, then I don’t think he’ll be a distraction in the locker room. I’d prefer a veteran backup QB rather than some project rookie.

    Reply
  5. TS Johnson - Nov 14, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    “Seriously. Vick already knows the system. He still has a cannon where his left arm is supposed to be, he can still run around and make things happen when he’s healthy. He was having an okay season until it was derailed by a hamstring injury. He’s proven he can win games in the NFL. He’s a great leader—underrated in fact. He’s perfect.”

    Seriously?

    You’re so full of fit. It’s okay for him to be the backup, but not the starter as you were whining and complaining when he was. Please. There is a good chance the team will be drafting a QB. Vick is off the roster moving forward. he was always a one year rental.

    Reply
  6. Marvin Monroe - Nov 14, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    But will he be an Elite backup?

    Reply

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