Just a few minutes ago, the NFL announced that it had reinstated quarterback Michael Vick on a conditional basis.
Vick will not be eligible to play until the final two preseason games for whichever team signs him, and after that he can't play until Week 6 in the regular season.
So obviously, Vick will be a backup wherever he goes in 2009. He's an unrestricted free agent now -- the Falcons have renounced their claim on him -- and can sign anywhere he wants.
There are many questions about Vick, but here, I believe, are the two biggest:
1) Can he stay out of trouble?
2) Can he still play at anywhere near the same level?
Vick is only 29, but his promising career was derailed by his involvement with (and subsequent jail time for) an illegal dogfighting enterprise.
Now, should the Panthers sign him?
No. Let's just consider Vick just as a football player for the moment. He doesn't fit what the Panthers like to do. John Fox doesn't care about his quarterback running much. He does care about accuracy -- always Vick's weakness as a thrower. Jake Delhomme is well-set here as the starter. Vick at best would be a backup and while certainly an interesting alternative to Josh McCown (No.2) and Matt Moore (No.3), it's not a good fit overall.
Carolina doesn't need the circus Vick will bring with him, and Vick needs a team that didn't win 12 games last year and is more willing to take a risk by bringing him aboard. That team should be warned, however: You just can't count on that athleticism that used to set Vick apart, and without that, he's an average NFL quarterback at best.
Still, I hope Vick resurrects himself in the NFL somewhere. He has served his time. He's got Tony Dungy on his side now as a mentor, and that's a good thing.
Vick deserves another chance. As Goodell wrote to Vick in a letter: "Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited. I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you and to dedicate yourself to rebuilding your life and your career. If you do this, the NFL will support you."