Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Mar 2014

Jets Sign Michael Vick, Cut Mark Sanchez

I figured this move needed its own thread rather than going in the big master free agency thread. Michael Vick signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets today for an undisclosed amount. This will of course do wonders for Geno Smith's confidence, I'm sure. It's not a terrible decision for Vick, however; he's reunited with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and the Jets will have a better defense and better chance to contend than, say, the Raiders. (Please don't laugh when I say "Jets" and "contend" in the same sentence, or I'll send Muhammed Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson to beat you up.)

Oh, and the Jets also finally cut Mark Sanchez.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 21 Mar 2014

20 comments, Last at 26 Mar 2014, 3:31pm by Sifter


by JFP :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 8:42pm

A pretty decent off season for the Pats continues.

by mehllageman56 :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 10:36am

If anything, this is a sour note in the Pats off-season. The Butt-fumbler is gone, and a quarterback with a history of good production is now a possible starter for one of their division rivals. It's not a big deal, but this signing only improves the Jets on the field. The fanbase doesn't play the games, the team does.

by Treima :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 2:21pm

You're mighty optimistic that a 34 year-old with a long and storied injury history throwing to Jeremy Kerley and three carbon rods is going to contribute much of anything.

by MatMan :: Mon, 03/24/2014 - 10:26am

Inanimate carbon rods.

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 03/24/2014 - 11:08am

I think Eric Decker going to sue you for libel unless you take that comment back. Besides, they're not inanimate, just clumsy brittle and have bricks for hands.

by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 6:25pm

Seems to me this isn't the first time the Yets have picked a a broken-down QB 'with a history of good production'. I suspect the Patriots have little to fear.

by Led :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 9:35pm

If Geno Smith doesn't have the confidence to handle some training camp competition, then he's never going to be any good anyway. This will be the first time in 5 years the Jets will have 2 NFL-quality QBs on the roster actually capable of playing in a regular season game, assuming Smith's solid last quarter of the season means he'll be NFL-quality this year (and Vick survives the pre-season healthy!). Between Smith and Vick, hopefully they can get something resembling mediocre QB play. That will be a huge improvement. Plus, it's a one year deal, so there's little risk. Putting aside the predictable media BS, which accompanies everything the Jets ever do anyway, there's not much to dislike about this.

by Mash Wilson :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 3:39pm

That's an optimistic take. I look at their quarterback situation and see one guy who's an NFL-quality QB but... well, you said "capable of playing in a regular season game" and I suppose he can do that, but probably not two in a row; and another guy who can play as much as you like but isn't an NFL-quality QB. But at least he has the Jets' QB development machine behind him!

Also, does anyone know if there are going to be Jets-colored Michael Vick chew toys? My dog's birthday is coming up.

by Cythammer :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 11:32pm

It's as likely that Geno Smith will be motivated by the competition and that will help him improve as it is that he will be mentally destroyed by the shocking idea that he might not have a stranglehold on the starting job.

I guess I'll be hoping that Vick will win the job since he is probably the better player right now. Once the season turns south, as is very likely, Geno can come back and try continue his development. Geno would probably still be starting more than half the season in this scenario.

Definitely never thought I'd see the day that Michael Vick would be playing for the Jets and Revis for the Pats…

by mehllageman56 :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 10:33am

This news makes me even more of a Geno Smith fan. Unless Bridgewater falls to 18.

by Steve in WI :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 3:36pm

I don't normally hope that a football player suffers a horrific injury, but when I do, that player is Michael Vick.

by DavidL :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 6:33pm

Good riddance, says the city of Philadelphia.

by DEW :: Sun, 03/23/2014 - 2:54am

I'm happy it's the Jets, because as a Dolphins fan I don't like the Jets anyway, and therefore the fact that they're willing to employ the dog-killing swine doesn't make me dislike them (much) more. (...though he'd fit right in with last year's 'Fins OL)

From a football standpoint, well, Vick is obviously better than Sanchez. But he's not going to be able to teach Smith to be a better quarterback, given that he was never much of one himself but rather a man who got by on his incredible athletic ability. He hasn't been particularly good since 2010, and the talent around him in NY is significantly less than it was in Philly: no Jackson, no McCoy, etc.

Furthermore, the Jets aren't going to be competing for a title next year. The defense got worse in the offseason, and the offensive parts aren't there. So a quarterback in his 30s, on the downside of his career, isn't going to push them over the hump. They're not going to do what Arizona did last year. If Vick wins the starting job, it does nothing for Smith's development. If he doesn't win it, then he's basically useless.

The bottom line is, unless Vick shows off skills that he hasn't displayed for three years, he's not going to significantly improve the Jets franchise. If Smith can't do the job, then they needed to look to the draft to replace him, not tread water. He's a better player than Tebow, by far, but it's more of the same thing, the Jets making the loud, headline-grabbing move instead of building the team. Last year, they did a good job of avoiding the circus and instead working hard to exceed expectations. This offseason, it looks like they're backsliding.

by Jeff88 :: Sun, 03/23/2014 - 4:03am

They brought in Vick to be a backup not the starter. He was the best FA backup available, you think they were going to hang on to Sanchez and his $13million cap hit? Idzik is not Tannenbaum, and I can question his lack of moves to fix the defensive backfield, but he is looking at the long term picture. He knows this team is not a playoff contender yet, and he is using the draft as a lifeline to the team's success not free agency.

Take away the name "Vick" and its just a team acquiring a backup QB, nothing more.

by mehllageman56 :: Sun, 03/23/2014 - 2:28pm

I pretty much agree with you about the Jets title chances. I think Aaron meant that the Jets could contend for the playoffs, not an AFC championship or Super Bowl, but it would depend on how the draft turns out. The Jets will have between 9 to 12 picks, depending on how the compensatory picks work out.

As far as them backsliding, Idzik's plan is to build up through the draft, not by throwing money at it as the Jets did in 2009/2010, and as the Dolphins have been doing lately. If Idzik can get as many starters in this years draft as he did last year, the Jets will be contending soon, just not this year. Signing Vick does not preclude them from drafting a quarterback.
The Vick move may have circus potential, but there are solid football reasons to sign him, and the money is not exorbitant. If Geno Smith plays like he did the last four games of the season, he will play well, but probably get injured. I remember him trying to get into the end zone against the Dolphins and ending up in the air doing a helicopter. Now they have someone who can fill in for a couple games, and for less money than Sanchez was getting.

The irony of this thread is that everyone is arguing about whether this makes the Jets a threat to the Patriots in the division, in response to my first post. Of course it doesn't; the Pats are the favorites, and the closest threat to them has to be the Dolphins right now.

by Alternator :: Mon, 03/24/2014 - 2:37am

The closest threat to the Patriots is Brady being injured and Mallett proving mediocre or worse.

The next closest threat is probably Brady and Belichick retiring after another SB winning season, deciding to go out on top.

After that it's, I dunno, realignment?

No other team in the AFC East has proven to have competent team-building leadership in place, though Idzik might be in the process of changing that. If the guys in charge don't know how to construct a roster, the team will go nowhere, and that describes 3/4 of the East.

by Jeff88 :: Mon, 03/24/2014 - 5:36am

You forgot to mention that it also helps to have a franchise quarterback, especially one of the all-time greats in the game's history. The only reason why the rest of the AFC East hasn't toppled NE is because none of the teams have been able to find a franchise quarterback. When you don't have one of those, it becomes extremely difficult for a coach to lead a franchise in today's NFL without losing his job.

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 03/24/2014 - 11:25am

The Jets did find a franchise quarterback, in the same draft the Pats got Brady. Unfortunately, he kept getting hurt, but Pennington was the only quarterback to keep the Pats from winning the division during their reign of terror.

As far as the competence of the three AFC East also-rans, I would argue that the Jets have been better run during the last decade or so than the Bills or Dolphins; thats why they've made the playoffs 6 times since Brady's emergence, compared to one for the Dolphins and none for the Bills. They even beat the Patriots in the playoffs one year, and made it to 2 AFC championships not that long ago.

I agree that the Patriots are division favorites as long as Brady remains healthy.

by Alternator :: Tue, 03/25/2014 - 3:21am

Can you really say, with a straight face, that even ignoring the quarterback position you think the Bills or Dolphins are remotely well-designed teams? Both have had seasons with respectable QB play, neither one has made anything out of it. The Jets, at least, have been very good about putting together elite defenses; their inability to construct a roster is on the offensive side (Sanchez wasn't the only weak link there).

by Sifter :: Wed, 03/26/2014 - 3:31pm

Buffalo fans would love to see this respectable QB play you speak of. The last season from a Buffalo QB I can find with a positive DVOA is 2002 Drew Bledsoe - a ridiculous streak of mediocrity ensuing since then. Ryan Fitzpatrick came closest to breaching the mystical average barrier, but nope even the Amish Rifle couldn't do it.

And just because I was interested I checked out Miami too - they've had more joy. Jay Fiedler was positive DVOA from 2000-2003, Pennington had a good season in 2008 (weird how Miami's most productive QB year of the millennium came in the one when Brady was injured). Trent Green in '07 and Chad Henne in '09 and '10 just snuck in above 0% DVOA as well.