It is the rumor that simply won't die -- that Michael Vick will one day end up as a Carolina Panther.
Can we derail this one, please? It shouldn't happen, and you shouldn't want it to happen. Vick is just not that good anymore. I'm not even talking about the whole ethics thing, the illegal dogfighting enterprise, the jail time, all of that.
I'm talking about simply on the football field -- we'll leave his character issues aside for the purposes of this blog post. And it's on the field where I don't think Vick would do the Panthers much -- if any -- good.
Vick restarted the rumor this time by saying on a weekend radio appearance that if he could choose to play for any team in the NFL, it would be the Carolina Panthers. You may not usually expect NFL news to be started on a program called Gangsta Grillz with a host named DJ Drama, but there you go. Vick said: “If I could play for any team in the league, it would probably be two teams if I had to pick one, it would probably be the Carolina Panthers."
Why Carolina? Vick responded: "Well, you know, it’s close to home. I like the uniforms. You get to play against Atlanta twice a year. Ain’t nothing better than playing against your former team, right? So, yeah, that would be a good look, it would be a good look."
OK, so let's take a good look at some context here. Vick is officially still a Philadelphia Eagle. On Friday, the Eagles have to decide whether they pick up a $1.5-million option on his contract. This would obligate the Eagles to pay Vick at least $2.5 million overall this season if they can't trade him, which it appears is what they may most want to do. (They originally signed Vick to a two-year deal in August 2009, but only the first year was guaranteed).
If the Eagles don't pick up the option -- and they appear committed to starting Donovan McNabb once again in 2010 -- Vick is free. But there have been various reports that they probably will pick it up. And in that case, Vick is still Eagles property but probably on the market for a mid-round draft pick.
Now if you're playing biggest-name-out-there fantasy football (Bill Polian used to always warn against this when he was Carolina's general manager), that sounds great, right? Michael Vick for a fourth-round pick? Maybe he'll beat out both Jake Delhomme and Matt Moore and start! What a bargain!
No, I don't think so. Vick looked like nowhere near the same player to me last year. I know he had limited action for the Eagles. But even in his best years, his accuracy was suspect, and the reason he was so good was that he was practically a running back who could also play QB (he rushed for 1,039 yards in 2006).
I don't think he's that fast anymore. Not nearly that fast. The statistics from last season bear it out. And he throws the ball inaccurately enough that I can safely tell you that Matt Moore (for sure) and Jake Delhomme (pre-2009) both would hit a lot more targets in the chest in 100 throws than Vick would.
Bottom line: Not worth it. I'd rather the Panthers choose another QB via the draft in April, let DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart take whatever "Wildcat" snaps are available in 2010 and leave Vick to go tease some other team somewhere else.
11 months ago