A team with a long tradition of mobile quarterbacks has added another one to the mix with the signing of Michael Vick by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Of course, the return of Vick to the NFL means the circus will be headed to Philadelphia for at least the next few days as the former top pick has become one of the more polarizing figures in the league following his conviction in 2007 on charges of conspiracy and running a dog-fighting operation.
Vick last played in the NFL in 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons, which originally made him the top pick in the NFL in 2001.
Philadelphia was originally not believed to have serious interest in Vick, but that evidently changed this week.
He joins a roster that includes clear number one quarterback Donovan McNabb along with former second round pick Kevin Kolb and long-time backup A.J. Feeley.
Vick, who set an NFL record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback in 2006, has been mentioned as a potentially dangerous weapon in the Wildcat Formation, which was made popular last season by the Miami Dolphins and is now the offense de jour.
Though Philadelphia was not where many envisioned Vick, it could actually end up being a perfect fit for him as he looks to readjust to the NFL and salvage his once promising career.
The presence of McNabb means that Vick will not be expected to move immediately into the starting lineup. Additionally, after the original uproar from PETA supporters dies down, being in a town like Philadelphia could be ideal for Vick.
Philadelphia is a passionate sports town that deeply loves and appreciates its star athletes. If Vick has matured in the manner that Tony Dungy and many others suggest, his work ethic and huge talent should quickly endear him to many Philly faithful.
Vick was tentatively reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on July 20 and is allowed to participate in training camp and the final two preseason games. He then should be reinstated sometime before the sixth week of the season.
How long Vick’s suspension lasts will be decided by Goodell based on whether he believes Vick has made a sincere attempt to overcome his stormy past. Early indications are that Goodell is pleased with the strides Vick is making.
Vick’s contract is reportedly valued at $1.6 million for 2009 and $5.2 million for 2010. That should go a long way towards helping the quarterback through his on-going bankruptcy protection case.
The addition of Vick is an interesting move for the Eagles. After a couple tumultuous seasons, McNabb re-established himself as the team leader a year ago and during the off-season renegotiated his contract to guarantee he will spend at least the next two seasons with the Eagles.
McNabb will be 33 years old during the season while Vick recently turned 29.
If McNabb and the Eagles struggle early in 2009, it will be interesting to see how long it takes Philly fans to start calling for Vick to get a chance under center.
While Vick is the more mobile runner of the two, McNabb’s passing numbers are far superior to Vick.
McNabb has completed 58.9% of his passes for 29,320 yards, 194 touchdowns and only 90 interceptions in 10 seasons. Conversely, in six seasons Vick completed 53.8% of his passes for 11,505 yards, 71 touchdowns and 52 interceptions.
Ultimately, the Eagles decided they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring the talented Vick into the fold. It will be interesting to see if that decision will ultimately be considered to be the right one.