Why It’s Unlikely Vick Gets Cut Or Traded

There was a time when Michael Vick would have scoffed at the possibility of being the backup quarterback.

But those days are over.

The 33-year-old knows that he’s part of a QB competition that will play out on the fields at the NovaCare Complex and during the preseason in the weeks ahead.

Vick was asked today what his reaction would be if he lost out on the starting job and asked to be the backup.

“I would continue to support this team,” Vick said after a short pause. “I’m here for one reason, to help this team win football games. And like I just said a second ago, by any means necessary. Whatever it takes. If I have to watch film with all the quarterbacks, if I have to coach the quarterbacks one day, then that’s what I’ll do.”

Many have suggested that the Eagles would release or trade Vick, rather than name him the backup. But from this perspective, those options seem unlikely. The Eagles already paid Vick $3.5 million up front earlier this offseason when they brought him back on a one-year deal. And they owe him $3.5 million in salary.

Chip Kelly has made it clear that just because a guy wins the starting job out of camp doesn’t mean he’ll keep it all year.

“I reserve the right to change everything,” Kelly said last month. “The best players play. Just because you’re the starter, you still need to understand that it’s always on the line. It’s on the line every single day for you.”

Even if Nick Foles wins out, Vick would have a better chance of replacing him (either due to injury or ineffectiveness) than finding a starting job elsewhere just a few weeks before the regular season.

Would a team really trade for Vick and expect him to learn a new offense in such a short amount of time? Remember, Vick chose to come back to the Eagles on a one-year deal. That means he considered his other options and ultimately decided this was his best shot at getting on the field.

As for the competition overall, Kelly said the reps will be split just like they were in the spring, and he’ll do it that way until a starter emerges. He didn’t rule out the possibility of Matt Barkley getting in the mix either.

“Everybody’s got a chance. Everybody that’s in camp is going to get an opportunity to show us what their resume is,” Kelly said. “And your resume is what you put on tape every single day. So if someone continues to make plays and another guy continues not to make plays, then that guy’s going to move up and the other guy’s going to move down. There’s nothing set in stone. I would say our depth chart’s written in sand right now.”

Up until today, the possibility existed that Kelly might not name a starter until the Eagles’ first offensive series in Week 1. But apparently, it won’t come down to that.

“We’ll have a starting quarterback named before we get our gameplan in for the Redskins,” Kelly said.

The head coach also praised Vick for his offseason work ethic. The veteran has added four pounds to his frame and said he’s trying to “fight back” against the notion that he’s injury-prone.

“He came in in great shape…” Kelly said. “I think he spent a lot of time here in the offseason and worked extremely hard with guys like [Jeremy] Maclin and [Jason] Avant and the guys who were around here in the summertime. He’s excited to get going.”

In a six-month span, it seems Kelly has created an environment in which every quarterback believes he should be the starter. Foles said so yesterday. Barkley put himself into the competition too. And once again, there’s Vick.

“We all believe in ourselves,” Vick said. “It’s great that Nick feels that way. I feel the same. And I’m pretty sure if you all said that to Coach Kelly, he’d be happy that he has two quarterbacks that feel like they can run this football team.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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