NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When Michael Vick visits the New York Jets on Friday, he’ll be offered the opportunity to compete with quarterback Geno Smith — but that’s about it, according to Metro New York.
“Nothing beyond that is guaranteed,” an unnamed Jets executive told Metro.
In other words, the Philadelphia Eagles free agent won’t be immediately typecast as a backup. But he shouldn’t expect to be handed the starting job, either.
Metro’s source said it’s not “written in stone” that Vick “will carry a clipboard” if he signs with New York: “Michael will know that if he comes here, he will be expected to compete. That will be our message.”
Jets coach Rex Ryan is loyal to his guys, and Smith showed promise in leading the team to a surprising 8-8 record in his rookie year.
“This young man’s going to be hard to beat out,” Ryan told the team’s official website. “I don’t care who comes in here. We want competition at every spot — I think it’s great — but make no mistake, Geno Smith gonna be hard to beat out. The last four weeks of the season, when most rookies are (on the decline), he’s (on the rise).”
General manager John Idzik has stressed the importance of competition since his hiring last year. Mark Sanchez, in danger of being released with a roster bonus due Tuesday, gave Smith a run for his money last summer before a preseason shoulder injury sidelined him for the entire 2013 campaign.
The market for backup quarterbacks is starting to thin. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick agreed on Thursday with the Houston Texans, who reportedly could flip QB Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders for a draft pick.
Vick, if he decides Florham Park is a fit, would be reunited with Marty Mornhinweg, his former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia.
“Whenever you have some inside knowledge of a player with a coach who has worked with him or a player that has played with him, some member of your staff has been around him for a while, that is a tremendous advantage,” Idzik said during a conference call Thursday. “There is less projection.”
Vick, 33, is considered by many an ideal fit to back up Smith, who is coming off an up-and-down rookie season. He could mentor the young quarterback and step in if he falters. Vick also has familiarity with the Jets’ version of the West Coast offense implemented by Mornhinweg.
Vick, a four-time Pro Bowler who missed two seasons while jailed for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring, spent the past five seasons with the Eagles, but only played in seven games during an injury-plagued 2013 season. He completed 54.6 percent of his passes last season for 1,215 yards and five touchdowns. He was turnover-prone, however, throwing three interceptions and fumbling four times.
“If he thinks he can win the starting job, this could be a good fit,” Metro’s source said. “It is up to him to see if he wants in to compete.”
His jersey number could also be a “big issue” in contract talks, according to TMZ Sports. Vick has a clothing line marketed around his No. 7, which is also worn by Smith.
For his 11-year career, Vick has thrown for more than 21,000 yards, with 128 touchdowns and 85 interceptions, to go along with 5,857 yards, 36 touchdowns and 7.1 yards per carry on the ground.
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