At this point, placing Michael Vick, whose sentence ends July 20 after two months of home confinement, with an NFL team is the wildest of conjectures, an exercise in prognostication that assumes several truths -- including the one in which commissioner Roger Goodell reinstates the disgraced quarterback and a team decides to take the inevitable PR hit to sign him.
There's a real possibility Goodell might ban Vick for life. Even if he doesn't, Vick is facing at least two years away from football (three, if he sits out 2009). Having already reportedly lost 25 pounds, Vick would face an uphill climb to get back into football shape ... assuming a team signs him.
He could lift weights all he wanted while he was in prison; nothing Vick experienced in Leavenworth, Kan. could accurately simulate the speed and ferocity of an NFL game.
But let's assume the NFL does reinstate Vick -- and let's assume teams will want him. Let's face it, for all his shortcomings as a pocket quarterback, Vick was easily one of the most dynamic and unpredictable athletes the league had ever seen -- and this was before the advent of the Wildcat.
Would owner Daniel Snyder be interested in Vick? At this point, I can't think of a reason why not. Snyder loves the splashy move, bringing in the big name -- regardless of any potential risks and consequences. He'll probably realize that signing Vick would result in almost daily protests by PETA and other animal rights groups, he'll probably be aware that life on the road would be hard for the former Virginia Tech star, as fans of other teams mock and taunt him for his deeds.
Hell, Redskin fans might do that, at least at first. There's even the chance some season-ticket holders would boycott.
Let's assume Goodell suspends Vick for the 2009 season and reinstates him for 2010. We already know the quarterback situation in Washington could be in flux, with Jason Campbell in the last year of his contract and the team having shown on more than one occasion this offseason that it might be willing to look in a different direction. The Redskins already tried to go after Jay Cutler and rookie Mark Sanchez, to no avail.
There have been no talks between Campbell and management regarding an extension, meaning Campbell would likely have to put up monster numbers and lead the Redskins to the playoffs before one is even considered.
If Campbell winds up somewhere else in 2010, that would leave Washington (at this point) with Todd Collins, Colt Brennan and rookie free agent Chase Daniels. Collins is too old to be a long-term solution, while Brennan showed flashes of talent in the preseason last year. But do you really see head coach Jim Zorn (assuming he's still around in 2010) making Brennan or Daniels the face of the franchise in 2010?
If Campbell leaves, the Redskins will have to look somewhere else for the answer behind center. Given that -- and again, assuming Vick won't be eligible until after the 2009 season -- it would make sense for Washington to at least look at Vick. Vick will never be a true pocket passer, though, which might be what the team is looking for. Sure, Campbell (and Cutler and Sanchez) has mobility, but he's always been a throw-first quarterback. The Redskins' offense doesn't really have a place for a slash-type athlete like Vick.
Nor do I see the Redskins adopting a version of the Wildcat offense to find a place for Vick. Though that formation has grown in popularity, thanks in part to the Miami Dolphins' success with it last season, few teams in the NFC have adopted it -- and no one in the NFC East. I also don't think Washington has the personnel to run that offense, though I suppose an argument could be made for Antwaan Randle-El.
At this point, the only way I see Vick as a Washington Redskin would be if he switched to a different position. While Vick certainly has the speed and athleticism to find success as a running back or wide receiver, I don't think his sense of pride or his ego would let him make that move.
Vick would want to be a quarterback.
Snyder will probably give Vick a look -- you know, kick the proverbial tires and what not -- but unless Zorn leaves and his replacement embraces Vick's style of play, he wouldn't fit with the team's offensive philosophy.
At this point, the Redskins not signing Vick wouldn't even be about the bad PR or the thought of bringing a convicted felon into the locker room. It would be about bringing in a guy who wouldn't fit what the team was trying to do offensively, and trying to change Vick to make it work would be unfair -- both to the player and the team.
If things fall into place just right, Vick might wind up a Redskin. I just don't see it happening.
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