Vick signs with the Jets

Michael Vick signs his one-year contract with the New York Jets. The former Eagle expects to compete with Geno Smith for the starting-quarterback job.
Michael Vick signs his one-year contract with the New York Jets. The former Eagle expects to compete with Geno Smith for the starting-quarterback job. (Associated Press)
Posted: March 23, 2014

Michael Vick signed with the New York Jets on Friday, ending his five-year Eagles career.

The 33-year-old free-agent quarterback, who could have sought a return to the Eagles as Nick Foles' backup, expects to compete for the Jets' starting job with second-year player Geno Smith.

Vick agreed to a one-year deal with the Jets that will pay him $5 million in 2014. It was the best and perhaps only opportunity for Vick to compete for a starting job. The Jets also released Mark Sánchez.

Smith had an inconsistent rookie season in 2013.

"It is an honor to be a member of the New York Jets," Vick said in a statement. "The organization is strong and I look forward to an exciting football season. I will express my gratitude for the city of Philadelphia. For now, I am humbled to play the game I love as an NFL QB."

The deal reunites Vick with Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who called plays for the Eagles when Vick had his finest NFL season, in 2010. Jets coach Rex Ryan must win in 2014 after missing the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

"I have an opportunity to come in and compete, push Geno, help him, be there for him, and just try to help this team win some games whatever way I can," Vick said in an interview on the Jets website. "That's going to be my contribution."

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement: "I want to personally wish Michael Vick and his family all the best as he heads into the next phase of his career in New York. I really enjoyed getting to know him over the last five years. He always represented our team with a tremendous amount of class. Michael was a great teammate, a great leader, and we're thankful for everything he provided to our organization and to our community."

In five seasons with Philadelphia, Vick recorded a 20-20 record as a starting quarterback. He completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 9,984 yards, 57 touchdowns, and 33 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,998 yards and 15 touchdowns.

He arrived in Philadelphia as a controversial figure following a 19-month imprisonment because of a dogfighting conviction. He was originally a third-string quarterback. When Donovan McNabb was traded, Vick became the backup. A spectacular September in 2010 allowed Vick to unseat Kevin Kolb and become the franchise quarterback.

The Eagles rewarded Vick with a $100 million deal in 2011, but he was never able to consistently repeat the dynamic performances of 2010. The Eagles failed to make the playoffs in Vick's final two seasons under Andy Reid. Chip Kelly elected to keep Vick last season, and Vick earned the starting job over Foles during the preseason.

Vick's injuries were a recurring problem during his tenure in Philadelphia, including in 2013. Vick's balky hamstring sidelined him twice last season, allowing Foles to emerge as the starter.

"I love Michael Vick," Kelly said in January. "It was just a unique situation, and I think how he handled it, how he helped Nick through the process, it just tells you the type of person he is and the type of teammate he is, and I think that didn't go unnoticed by me, and I appreciate everything he did my first year here."

Still, Vick needed to look for a job elsewhere. The Eagles never ruled out welcoming Vick back as a backup, but they made clear to him that he would not find a starting job in Philadelphia.

So Vick went searching for a job this month, although the marketplace has closed elsewhere. Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Houston, Cincinnati, and Oakland have all acquired or kept veteran quarterbacks this offseason. The Jets were Vick's first known visit.

Vick was revered by many in the Eagles locker room, where he had developed into a veteran leader and rebuilt his public image. He leaves with that image mostly restored, although his football legacy is incomplete. That will now be determined with the Jets.

"It's hard to sum up my time here," Vick said in January. "Everything has been so surreal and happened so abruptly."


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