The Philadelphia Eagles already had an uncertain future at quarterback. Yet the Eagles seemed certain to release Michael Vick right after the Super Bowl, regardless of whether Nick Foles or someone else would succeed him. But after ESPN stunned everyone on Jan. 16 by revealing that Chip Kelly was coming to Philadelphia after all, Vick could be the biggest winner.
If Kelly is bringing his quick, running-centric style of offense to Philadelphia, he will need a mobile quarterback. That certainly describes Vick, although he has been less than mobile in the past two years. However, he is certainly more of a Kelly-style quarterback than Foles is, which leaves the Eagles in a quandary.
Philadelphia needs to release Vick three days after the Super Bowl to avoid owing him $15.5 million in 2013. Given that Vick is hardly worth that kind of money anymore and can’t be counted on to stay healthy, releasing him seemed to be a no-brainer. Yet because his skill set matches up with Kelly’s offense better than Foles does, Philadelphia has to do some deeper thinking now.
Foles already struggled enough with a regular offense this past season, so asking him to excel in Kelly’s might be too much. In that case, the Eagles would need to draft someone or turn to free agency, but is there an available college or pro quarterback who fits the bill? If there isn’t and if Foles really can’t adapt, then the Eagles have no choice but to look at Vick again.
Yet the ideal quarterback for Kelly is not only mobile, but young and fast. Vick is hardly young anymore and his speed isn’t what it used to be. A younger, healthy model could excel with Kelly, but putting in an older, set in his ways Vick might expose the limits of this system.
If Kelly is equally set in his ways, he will need the kind of player that Vick was a decade ago. But those kinds of quarterbacks are currently in Washington, Seattle, San Francisco and Carolina. Many more teams may go looking for the next Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton, but they don’t exactly grow on trees.
Yet thanks to hiring Kelly, the Eagles have no choice but to find one of those trees -- or go back to the decaying one they already have.