Friday, March 7, 2014
What Henne's deal means for Vick
By Phil Sheridan
Scratch the Jacksonville Jaguars off Michael Vick's list of possible employers.
That was the immediate take after the Jaguars signed quarterback Chad Henne to a two-year contract Friday. The nature of the deal and, frankly, the nature of Chad Henne suggest the Jaguars plan to draft a quarterback in May and use Henne as an interim starter in 2014.
That is not the kind of role Vick really wants, obviously. He has been a franchise quarterback, in attitude and usually in job description, for most of the years since he was drafted first overall by Atlanta in 2001. Vick's plan is to leave Philadelphia, where he was displaced by Nick Foles, and go somewhere he can start for another two or three seasons.
That place probably wasn't going to be Jacksonville. But each time a team with an obvious need at quarterback fills that need, Vick's options shrink. The list of likely possibilities includes Oakland, Minnesota, the New York Jets, Tampa Bay and Buffalo.
The other striking thing about Henne's deal is how it sets the market for veteran stopgap types. Henne will reportedly get $4.5 million guaranteed and a total of $8 million from the Jags.
Vick earned over $50 million in bonuses and salary over the past four seasons. That sounds like a lot, and it is. But he has also been dealing with the demands of the bankruptcy court, which has forced him to pay back his many creditors after his conviction on charges related to his dogfighting operation.
Vick reportedly emerged from bankruptcy only late last year. So he is surely looking for another big payday before his playing days are over. He will be 34 in June, so this is his last chance.
Did the Jaguars ever consider Vick? Did they prefer Henne because of football reasons and familiarity? Or did they figure Vick was holding out for a more prominent role than they were prepared to offer him?
The answers to those questions could provide clues about how Vick is seen around the league. The old truism that it only takes one team has never been more applicable than it is with Vick.
The Eagles were the only team willing to take a chance on him when he was reinstated by commission Roger Goodell in 2009. Will there be another team willing to give him a starting job in 2014?
It will be one of the most-watched stories in free agency. With Vick, that's the one thing you can be sure about.