Thursday, December 25, 2014

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to visit New York Jets on Friday

Michael Vick (left) could be reunited with former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (right) if he joins the New York Jets.
Michael Vick (left) could be reunited with former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (right) if he joins the New York Jets.
Michael Vick (left) could be reunited with former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (right) if he joins the New York Jets. Gallery: Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to visit New York Jets on Friday

There was finally some movement on the Michael Vick front and it will be up the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday when the free-agent quarterback visits the New York Jets, according to NFL sources.

Vick had remained relatively quiet during the first week of free agency as several teams signed starting-caliber quarterbacks off the market. But he will meet with a team that many thought had the best chance to land him and one that has a former offensive coordinator of his in Marty Mornhinweg.

There is obvious mutual interest, but Vick isn't expected to rush his decision. He doesn't have as many options as once perceived, especially if he wants to compete for a starting job. More than likely, Vick will have to sign with a team as the backup, which in theory doesn't rule out a return to the Eagles.

Since the end of last season and even earlier after he lost his starting spot to Nick Foles, Vick has said that he wants to start again. He expressed his wishes to the Eagles after the season and the team told him that he wouldn't have that opportunity with Foles in the fold.

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    Neither side closed the door on Vick's staying, but he likely has an easier path to becoming a No. 1 quarterback elsewhere. The Jets aren't expected to give him the chance to compete with incumbent Geno Smith. The second-year quarterback is expected to start the season, but Vick could have a greater shot at supplanting Smith than Foles.

    Mornhinweg worked closely with Vick for four seasons in Philadelphia and coaxed him to his best season in 2010.

    But Vick regressed in their last two seasons together. Last year, Vick beat out Foles before the season but lost the starting job after he strained a hamstring and Foles replaced him and thrived in Chip Kelly's offense.

    Vick certainly isn't the commodity he once was. He missed 16 games to injury over the last four seasons. He'll turn 34 in June. Less regarded free-agent quarterbacks such as Matt Cassell (Vikings), Chad Henne (Jaguars), and Josh McCown (Buccaneers) already signed contracts and presumably will be given the chance to start.

    The Texans, Browns, and Raiders all need starting quarterbacks, but they could all expend high draft picks to find one. Vick wants to go to a team on which he has the chance to start long-term, and the aforementioned teams, along with the Vikings and Jaguars, would be obligated to start a first-round selection at some point if he was a quarterback.

    The Bills are a possibility but will likely begin the season with second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel, a former first-round pick, as the starter. The Titans could be looking for someone to hold Jake Locker's spot until he fully returns from a Lisfranc injury.

    The Jets aren't exactly tied to Smith, who was drafted in the second round a year ago. Ideally, they would want him to succeed, but they aren't financially committed. Vick knows Mornhinweg's West Coast offense and has shown he can win in the NFL.

    Matt Barkley is the Eagles' No. 2 quarterback. Do the Eagles feel comfortable enough with him backing up Foles after he struggled in two appearances as a rookie? Whether it's Vick, a free agent such as Colt McCoy, or some lesser name, whomever the Eagles bring in to camp will give some indication of what Kelly thinks of Barkley.

     


    jmclane@phillynews.com

    @Jeff_McLane

     

    Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
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