Michael Vick was never going to age well. He’s way too reliant on athleticism. While quarterbacks playing at a high level into their mid and late 30s isn’t unheard of, running backs and wide receivers doing so is pretty rare. There’s a reason for that and as Vick aged and lost some of his athleticism, it was predictable he’d struggle, especially after spending 2 years away from the game in prison. Injuries don’t help things. Vick has played all 16 games just once in his career and has missed 13 games in the last 3 years alone. Not only does that make him incredibly unreliable going forward, all those injuries have really taken a toll on him.
Andy Reid made him look better than he was, just like he did with Kevin Kolb, AJ Feeley, Donovan McNabb, etc, but even Reid couldn’t do anything with him last year as Vick had his worst quarterback rating since 2006 and the 4th fewest rushing yards of his career (behind his rookie year, when he barely played, 2003, when he missed 11 games with injury, and 2009, his first year in Philadelphia, when he barely played). There’s a reason Reid gave up on him last season, keeping him on the bench in favor of the rookie Nick Foles even when Vick was healthy and not allowing Vick to see the field until week 17, when he lost 42-7 to the Giants in the absence of an injured Foles. 33 this off-season, Vick is washed up.
Because of all of this, I was going to give whoever signed him this off-season a bad grade. Well it turns out the team that signed him was his former team, the Eagles. Technically they didn’t sign him, but there was no way they were letting him see the 15+ million he was due this season so if he was going to be brought back it would be because he signed a new contract.
I can’t argue with the fit. Of all of the possible destinations for Vick, scheme wise he fits new Eagles’ Head Coach Chip Kelly’s offense best (even over old Head Coach Andy Reid in Kansas City). He fits the offense better than Nick Foles would have (though I never bought the notion that Kelly’s offense was completely inflexible and that he wouldn’t be able to cater it to Foles’ skill set).
Plus, this off-season, in a really weak quarterback market, Vick was going to get a starting job somewhere. He’s probably still one of the top-32 quarterbacks in the NFL when you include draft eligible prospects. The Eagles’ options this off-season were Vick or Foles/day 2 rookie quarterback. Either way, I don’t think they’ll be very good, which will put them in prime position to draft a quarterback in the 1st round in 2014, a much stronger quarterback class.
However, I can’t give this a good grade. This is way more than Vick is worth. He gets 3.5 million at signing, 4 million assuming he makes the week 1 roster (he will), another 500K for 50% playing time (he probably will), another 1 million for 90% playing time (he probably won’t), and another 1 million for winning the Super Bowl (HAHAHAHAHAHA).
Vick will probably make 10-13 starts this season, play anywhere from average to mediocre for a non-playoff team, and make 8 million dollars in the process. It’s not worth it. Why not just give Foles a shot? At least he’s young and has some upside. Why not find out what you have with him? This isn’t an awful move, but certainly not a good move either. I’m giving it a C.
As for Foles, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to him. Obviously, Kelly can’t be too high on him if he brought Vick back. Vick almost definitely won’t be back in 2014, but do the Eagles really see Foles as a 2014 starter? That’s doubtful, especially considering how much better next year’s quarterback class will be. They’ll probably opt for someone like Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Tajh Boyd, Logan Thomas, Aaron Murray, Derek Carr, or David Fales instead.
Foles still has some value on the trade market. He was a 3rd round pick last year and showed some promise in his first year as a starter last year. I don’t see why he can’t bring the Eagles a 3rd rounder in return. Andy Reid’s Chiefs obviously have a need at quarterback. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they came calling, though they probably won’t be the only team that has some interest.
One interesting trade scenario could send Foles to the Chiefs, with the Eagles and Chiefs swapping first round picks. By the NFL trade value chart, the difference between the 1st and 4th pick is the 12th pick and while Foles is definitely not worth the 12th pick, that trade chart is not applicable in every scenario. The Chiefs currently have no clue who they’re taking with the 1st overall pick and need a quarterback. Geno Smith is an option, but the NFL seems very lukewarm on him at best as a #1 pick.
Foles could help fill the Chiefs’ quarterback need (along with Alex Smith perhaps as a veteran stopgap) and allow the Chiefs to keep a top-4 pick. With the 4th pick, they’d still be able to choose between most of the players they’re interested in at #1. Star Lotulelei and DeMarcus Milliner would be the most likely options in that scenario. As for the Eagles, the trade up would allow them to secure Luke Joeckel, who is almost definitely their 1st round target. He could still fall to them at 4 (which gives them some leverage, which is why the whole Nick Foles is not worth the 12th overall pick thing isn’t relevant), but he might not and locking him up could be worth parting with Foles.
Update: I’m lowering this to do a D. A friend of mine is an Eagles fans and I asked him what he thought of the move. His response: “Ugh, Michael Vick again…Are we really doing this again?” And that really is true. Is Vick better than Foles? Probably, but enough to warrant 8 million and giving up on Foles? Why not just give Foles a chance and if he doesn’t have anything than you take a quarterback in 2014. I really don’t see how any Eagles fan can be happy the team brought back Vick again.