The Jets added the biggest name left in the free agency when they signed quarterback Michael Vick on Friday.
The one-year deal brings on board a true veteran under center and competition for Geno Smith, who was shaky last year as a rookie, but entered this season as the incumbent starter.
The signing of Vick also ended the five-year tenure of Mark Sanchez, who was cut by the team shortly before the announcement of the signing of Vick. Sanchez, who didn’t play the entirety of the 2013 regular season due to a should injury in preseason, leaves after a successful first two seasons in the league overshadowed by the profound struggles which followed.
As of late Friday afternoon, sources tell Metro that Sanchez did not know his future with the team.
As for Vick, his role with the team is anything but crystal clear. Throughout free agency, the former Eagles star made it clear he wanted to come into a team as a potential starter. Whether he will do that with the Jets or be relegated to clipboard duty is not clear — perhaps even to Vick.
“Anywhere I go or any team, I’m always going to compete for the No. 1 spot,” Vick said in a conference call with the Jets media Friday evening. “I’m always going to encourage any quarterback in front of me or behind me to compete for the No. 1 spot. That’s how champions are made.”
Eloquent and yet pithy in his conference call with the media, Vick did say “as of right now, Geno is the starting quarterback of this football team.”
Vick arrived at the Jets facility on Friday without a deal but left impressed after meeting with head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. Mornhinweg was the offensive coordinator of the Eagles from 2006 to 2012 and helped resurrect Vick’s career after a stint in prison. The former Eagle came into the meeting thinking he would take another visit next week.
He left Friday night as a Jet.
His arrival means the Jets don’t have a clear-cut starter, even if Smith might have a slight edge. It is shaping up to be another summer of a quarterback competition for a team that has been unsettled in preseason at that spot for the last three seasons. The signing of Vick comes exactly two years to the day the team traded for Tim Tebow from Denver. He was released after one season.
On Thursday, a team source told Metro the Jets would tell Vick there would be a quarterback competition if he signed and that he wouldn’t be guaranteed a sideline role.
Whether Vick is the starter or not, he will be able to continue a relationship with Vick that started last winter. Prior to the NFL Draft process, Vick and Smith connected and the veteran played a mentor role to the would-be rookie, giving him advice on the league and the agent process.
But continuing that mentorship isn’t what drew Vick to sign with the Jets. He said repeatedly in his Friday night conference call that he was drawn to playing for Ryan and his former offensive coordinator again.
“I think having the chance to play for Rex Ryan and coach Mornhinweg again,” Vick said. “I had some great years with Marty. We sat about it and talked about it today— the things that could have been and should have been.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.