There aren’t enough quarterbacks to go around in today’s NFL. And yet one of the most talented NFL quarterbacks of the last generation remains curiously out of work.
Mike Vick, the first overall pick in the 2001 draft whose career in Atlanta imploded in a dogfighting scandal and who played well enough with the Eagles in 2010 to secure a five-year, $80 million contract, has fallen off the league’s radar screen, with no one pursuing him or, as far as anyone can tell, even interested in him.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Vick currently believes that he’ll have to wait for a quarterback to be injured until getting a shot.
There are several potential factors keeping Vick from currently being employed. First, he hasn’t fully embraced the concept of being a backup; an ideal backup accepts the role and doesn’t aspire to start. Second, his performance with the Jets in last year’s game against the Chargers as a backup suggests that Vick isn’t suited to putting in the work needed to prepare to play when he thinks he most likely won’t be playing.
Third, many players currently in the league grew up idolizing Vick, creating a potential locker-room rift if Vick is signed to be the backup on a team that doesn’t have a firmly-entrenched starter.
Vick surely still has the talent to play in the NFL. He’d instantly become the best quarterback in Buffalo, if the Bills were to sign him. (Apparently, coach Rex Ryan came to some sort of a conclusion about Vick during their mutual 2014 season with the Jets.) He’d also arguably be the best quarterback in Cleveland or Houston, and he’d be a potentially ideal mentor for Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who doesn’t have a veteran presence at the quarterback position to groom the No. 1 overall pick 14 years after Vick was.
If it plays out with Vick getting another NFL gig due to an injury suffered in training camp or the preseason, he could have a steep learning curve to get ready to play. But it’s one thing to put in work in order to get ready to play and another to put in work in order to get ready to not play.