According to several published reports free agent quarterback Michael Vick is scheduled to meet with the New York Jets this weekend. The mere mention of Vick sent internet message boards into a frenzy as fans instantly picked their side of acceptance of the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback. The opinions ranged from letting Vick compete for the starting job, to boycotting the team if the signal caller was signed. I think that it is safe to assume that the signing of Michael Vick will bring a tremendous amount of media attention and fan reaction, both positive and negative, to the New York Jets.
In my opinion the only way that Mike Vick signs with the Jets is if he is promised a chance to compete with Geno Smith for the starting spot. This will be reiterated by contract terms that will more than likely fall in the $4-5 million per year range. From there the question is whether or not the competition will be productive for second year quarterback Geno Smith.
Sink or swim
At this point in his career I think that competition from a proven veteran like Vick will only help Geno. The young signal caller will be forced to raise his game while learning from a quarterback that is very familiar with Marty Mornhinweg's system. If Smith struggles, then the Jets have a quarterback in place that is very capable of winning games in the NFL. If Geno thrives, then Gang Green has a very solid backup in Vick that can continue to mentor Smith. This seems to be a win-win situation for the New York Jets.
The biggest issue surrounding Vick is the perceived media circus that he will bring along with him. There is a certain group of the population, including members of the media, that refuses to forgive Michael Vick for his past transgressions (dog fighting etc). It will be paramount for the New York Jets as an organization to take a stand with this group. The front office should explain the rationale for signing Vick and then promptly eliminate the media distractions. In the past the Jets seemed to embrace controversy (especially with the Tebow signing) and this cannot be the case if the team wants the Michael Vick signing to be a success.
With all things being considered I think that the signing of Mike Vick would be a smart move by the New York Jets. Vick has been productive in Mornhinweg's system and will bring much-needed experience and leadership to the quarterback position. In this day and age you cannot worry about the psyche of players. You bring in as much competition as possible and you let the best man win.
As for the off the field concerns, many people seem to forget that Michael Vick emerged as a prominent leader while a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick handled his demotion admirably and was often praised for his support of quarterback Nick Foles.
Michael Vick seems to have grown as a person and a player and I think that he would be an asset to the New York Jets organization.