The New York Jets have already made some big moves this offseason. They dumped polarizing quarterback Mark Sanchez and his bloated contract after the five-year veteran and four-year starter failed to play a single snap in 2013. Drafted fifth overall in 2009, following a stellar career at USC, Sanchez failed to put up the numbers of a true franchise QB, ending his Jets career with 12,092 passing yards, 68 TD’s, 69 interceptions and just a 71.7 passer rating. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the 2013 preseason, which ultimately ended his Jets career.
New York certainly didn’t waste any time in signing a new quarterback to fill Sanchez’s spot. They inked a one-year deal with Michael Vick that is said to be worth $5 million. Vick led off our list of top 2014 free agent quarterbacks, so we’re not surprised to see him land with a team where he’s got a legitimate shot at the starting job.
Another reason why this isn’t surprising is because his former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, Marty Mornhinweg, is now the OC in New York. Mornhinweg is as pumped as anybody to have the duel-threat quarterback aboard as he stated the following:
We are excited to acquire Michael Vick. 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.
Over his 11-year career, Vick has proven to be a much better option that Sanchez ever was for the Jets. He’s thrown for 21,489 yards, 128 TD’s and 85 INT’s, generating an 80.9 passer rating. What really makes Vick special for a quarterback is what he’s done with his feet, rushing for 5,857 yards and 36 touchdowns. He’s the only player in NFL history to pass for 20,000 yards and rush for 5,000 yards.
But Vick certainly doesn’t come without his drawbacks. The 33-year-old is still faster than most QB’s in the league, but he’s also years removed from the 4.33 forty-yard dash that he ran at the 2001 NFL Combine. More worrisome than a slight loss in speed is how injury prone the former Eagles QB is. Since winning the starting job in Philadelphia in 2010, he never missed fewer than three games in a season. Last year was especially bad as Vick played in just seven games due to a hamstring injury.
If Vick could stay healthy, there’s chance he could unseat Geno Smith as New York’s starting QB. Smith started his rookie year and put up fairly poor numbers, throwing for 3,046 yards, 12 touchdowns and 21 INT’s. Now that Vick is in town, Smith will have to improve if he wants to start in his second year. It doesn’t help matters that Smith (4.78 forty) is slower than Vick, which is significant because Mornhinweg encourages the QB to run in his offense.
Interestingly enough, Vick is already campaigning for DeSean Jackson to join him in New York. Jackson’s attitude has worn thin in Philly, and he’s due to make $10.5 million next season. So the Eagles are actively shopping the 27-year-old receiver, who’s coming of a career year where he caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. So far, the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have all shown interest in the 5’10” speedster.
You have to figure that with Vick already in management’s ear, the receiver-needy Jets will show some interest. New York’s top pass catcher last year was Jeremy Kerley, who grabbed 43 balls for 523 yards and three TD’s. This is a team that could really use a dynamic playmaker with speed in the receiving core. And Jackson, who runs a 4.35 forty, definitely fits this description.
But is this enough to convince New York to put up with everything that comes along with Jackson? Furthermore, is he worth the third-round asking price that Philadelphia wants and a $10.5 million salary? There’s little question that Jackson could create more headaches for Jets coach Rex Ryan. But then again, it can’t be half as bad as the headaches that a rookie quarterback throwing 21 interceptions or a punchless offense causes. That said, don’t be surprised if the Jets make a play for Jackson.