What's Next for Michael Vick?

Michael Vick is officially a free man. As of Monday morning, Vick's sentence ended and he's able to play outside the confines of his own back yard. Vick was already a polarizing player before the whole rape stand and dogfighting business, so what's ahead for a guy out of the NFL for the last two years? ↵

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↵Depending on who you read, Vick is either in a position of power to demand a starting spot or he's out of luck because Roger Goodell went hiking with Jim Mora. So yeah, there seems to be a difference of opinion. ↵

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↵Mike Florio says Vick should hold out for a starting spot, which doesn't really seem reasonable. If you were simply looking at a once-heralded player in a vacuum who didn't have all these problems and had just stepped away for two years, that's one thing, but that's not the case with Vick. Florio does concede that Vick might not have a choice but to take a one-year deal somewhere just to get back in the game and work his way in. With it being July 20, we're already so far along in the process that it's hard to imagine Vick being an opening day starter. ↵

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↵One common opinion shared between Florio and John Clayton is that Vick shouldn't/won't end up in the CFL or UFL. One thing seems certain, even if Vick lowered himself to be part of the ↵UFL, it wouldn't exactly put him on the fast track to paying back the ↵reported $20 million or so that he's in debt. If he takes a run at the ↵UFL the most he could make is $620,000. I don't personally see the UFL lasting long enough for Vick to turn that $620K per year into a way to cover his debt. ↵

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↵And really the whole starter/non-starter/CFL/UFL question all comes down to whether Roger Goodell will even reinstate Vick. It hardly seems a slam dunk that Vick will even be let back into the league. The video at the top of the Clayton story features Chris Mortensen, who ↵tosses out the connection between Jim Mora Jr. and Goodell as a ↵potential stumbling block. He says it in passing basically, so maybe he ↵just meant it as an aside. One or another, Vick doesn't have a lot ↵going his way on this one.
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↵But let's work under the assumption Vick lands back in the NFL and is, at some point, reinstated by Goodell. What team is willing to roll the dice on Vick? Vinnie Iyer has six teams he likes, but we'll use our own process of elimination. ↵

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↵Made the playoffs last year? You're out: Titans, Steelers, Dolphins, Chargers, Colts, Ravens, Giants, Panthers, Vikings, Cardinals, Falcons and Eagles. Why? Well, other than the Falcons being obvious as a place Vick won't end up, no team would extinguish any sort of prosperity experienced in the playoffs by bringing in such a pariah. Not happening. ↵

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↵Already have an established/well-paid QB? You're out: Saints, Patriots, Cowboys, Packers, Bears, Bengals, Chiefs, Texans, Browns and Panthers. Why? Vick probably wants to at least harbor the illusion of being a starter sometime soon and with all of these teams, except perhaps the Panthers, there's absolutely zero chance that would happen -- barring injury, of course. The Browns are a mess at QB -- and might be experiencing a case of "having two QBs means you have none," but no way do they add Vick to that mix with all the money invested in Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. ↵

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↵Did you draft a QB in the 2009 Draft? You're out: Lions, Jets and Bucs. Why? OK, maybe it'd be tough for the Lions to turn down anyone, but it's hard to fathom a team tainting a young QBs first season with the circus that would inevitably follow Vick's presence. ↵

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↵Did you coach Michael Vick already? You're out: Seahawks. Why? Although Mora said Vick has paid his debt to society and all that, his dad did call Vick a coach killer, so that'll be awkward. ↵

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↵So who's left? I'm seeing the Bills, Jaguars, Broncos, Raiders, Rams, 49ers and Redskins as the places Vick could land. Of those seven, the Redskins seem the least likely. Although I wouldn't really question Campbell's game, it's tough to ignore the fact that the team tried to make a change at QB this offseason. The unsettled nature of the whole thing has to put them in the conversation, right? The Raiders have JaMarcus Russell, but Al Davis loves him some big-armed QBs, and Vick has a cannon. And the rest of those teams are playing with scrap-heap/declining QBs and would probably consider such an act of desperation. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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