The New York Jets signed quarterback Michael Vick and released Mark Sanchez today.
Vick was a free agent after spending the last five seasons with the Phialdelphia Eagles. He will be reunited with Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who helped the quarterback have the best season of his career in Philadelphia in 2010. Vick was plagued by injuries the last three years and lost the starting job last year to Nick Foles.
He could present a real challenge to Jets starter Geno Smith, who played well down the stretch of his rookie season but finished with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
Vick, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, was once considered the most dynamic player in the NFL, particularly during his first six NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.
His playing career was abruptly halted for two seasons in 2007, when he pleaded guilty to being part of a dog fighting ring. He served 21 months in federal prison, and two more in home confinement. Since his release in 2009, Vick has worked with the Humane Society of the United States to stop organized animal fighting.
He signed with the Eagles in 2009 and revived his career the following season, being selected the AP’s 2010 Comeback Player of the Year and starting in the Pro Bowl. With Mornhinweg as his coordinator, Vick threw for 3,018 yards that season with a career-high 21 TDs and just six interceptions. He also ran for a career-best nine scores
The Sanchez move comes as no surprise. He spent this past season on injured reserve after injuring his right shoulder in a preseason game, clearing the way for rookie Geno Smith to start every game.
Sanchez tore the labrum in his right shoulder in the Jets’ third preseason game against the Giants and needed surgery to repair it in October. He had three years remaining on his contract, but his $13.1 million salary cap number for next season made it unlikely the team would keep him at that amount.
The Jets traded up in the 2009 draft to pick Sanchez No. 5 overall out of Southern California. He became a starter as a rookie and led the Jets to the AFC championship game in his first two seasons.
Sanchez threw for 12,092 yards and 68 touchdowns, with 69 interceptions, in 62 career games.