Eagles Signed Michael Vick, Could They Take on Colin Kaepernick?
Once upon a time, Andy Reid gave Michael Vick a second chance in the NFL.
Vick was a pariah at the time, behind bars for 548 days at the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth, for operating a dogfighting ring in the area of his hometown, Newport News, Va.
He had been reprimanded to home confinement after serving just over 18 months of a 23-month sentence. In July of 2009, his home confinement period ended, and Vick was able to negotiate a return to the NFL.
Could the Eagles be the team that gives controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick another chance?
Head coach Doug Pederson was asked recently about the possibility of it and said: “I think it’s something that if a team or even us were in a situation, we would look at all possibilities and scenarios.
“The one thing you have to keep in mind is he hasn’t played in a couple of years. That still doesn’t mean he couldn’t come in and be a backup and learn your system and do those things for you. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that could happen.”
Reid has moved on, but the owner, Jeffrey Lurie, who signed off on the decision to bring in Vick, is still around.
So is general manager Howie Roseman, who famously said this offseason, after the team took Jalen Hurts in the second round, that he wants the franchise to be known as a quarterback factory.
When the Eagles signed Vick to a two-year contract, Donovan McNabb was the starting quarterback. He was 33 and would be traded to Washington following the 2009 season.
The other quarterbacks on the Eagles’ roster then were Jeff Garcia, Kevin Kolb, and A.J. Feeley. Kolb had just been drafted in the second round two years earlier and was thought to be the quarterback of the future.
Signing Vick, who turned 40 on June 26, was a bolt of lightning from a blue sky.
Signing Kaepernick would be lightning striking twice.
Like 2009, the Eagles’ roster seems set at quarterback for now. The 2020 roster looks even better at quarterback.
A big difference is Carson Wentz is six years younger than McNabb was when Vick was signed.
While Jalen Hurts, like Kolb, was drafted in the second round this past spring, a surprise pick at No. 53, the Eagles had two 30-somethings on the roster in Jeff Garcia (39) and A.J. Feeley (32) in 2009.
Behind Wentz, and in front of Hurts at the moment, is 26-year-old Nate Sudfeld, who is on a one-year deal and likely to leave after this season. Kyle Lauletta, 25, is on the practice squad.
The rosters are different than when Vick was signed and so are the circumstances between the two quarterbacks.
Forgiveness for Vick was difficult for some, and never happened for others; his crimes of killing dogs and watching dogs be killed proved too heinous for some to ever feel good about rooting for him again, even though Vick has learned a valuable lesson through his ordeal.
Kaepernick was no less a pariah than Vick after deciding to take a knee during the National Anthem to protest police brutality against black people in 2016.
Kaepernick hasn’t played since that season, after being basically blackballed by the NFL ever since. Vick was away from the game for two years.
The recent racial unrest that has swept the country has given more of an understanding of what Kaepernick was trying to accomplish. Not to everyone, however, and controversy will flare again when the kneeling is expected to resume this fall.
That kind of national attention might be too much for some teams to want to absorb, even after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN:
“If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's going to take a team to make that decision. But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.”
The Baltimore Ravens (+225) are the favorites according to the oddsmakers with the Seattle Seahawks (+275), Jacksonville Jaguars (+300), Houston Texans (+400) and Los Angeles Chargers (+180) rounding out the top-five on the betting board.
The Eagles and Chiefs, Reid’s current team, aren’t on the board.
If the Eagles don’t sign Kaepernick, it won’t be because of the controversy it would generate. They have walked through those fires with Vick and emerged safely on the other side.
It won’t because of race, either.
The Eagles have had four prominent black quarterbacks in their history - McNabb, Vick, Randall Cunningham, and Vince Young – and one black head coach – Ray Rhodes.
There are two reasons the Eagles wouldn’t sign Kaepernick.
First, they wouldn’t feel their roster needs him.
Second, they would think the long layoff for the now-32-year-old Kaepernick has sapped some of his skillset.
Right now, the Eagles look like a very long shot. Of course, they were the same kind of long shot right before they inked Vick.