By Ch2 Sports Director Ed Kilgore
You know it's going to happen shortly; the Michael Vick to Buffalo rumors again. We fully expect to hear stories surfacing again that Vick was spotted house-hunting in Amherst, and that somebody has seen an actual Bills jersey on a web site with VICK on the back, before the picture was hastily removed.
Even during a weekend off, the Bills sad state of affairs makes them fodder for idle gossip and speculation, and that's exactly how we should view an off-hand remark from former Colts coach Tony Dungy during Sunday night's Cowboys-Eagles game on NBC.
Dungy, who has been mentoring Vick since Vick's reinstatement to the NFL after serving nearly two years in prison for his role in illegal dog fighting, mentioned that Buffalo might wind up with Vick next season. Dungy called Buffalo a "dark horse candidate", based on the fact that, in Dungy's words, Buffalo had talked to Vick before Vick signed his two year deal with the Eagles. "There was some communication there", said Dungy, "I think that could be a good spot". This is interesting stuff, because Bills COO Russ Brandon told the media during training camp at St. John Fisher College this sumer that the Bills were not interested in Vick.
I am not aware that Brandon was ever asked directly if he or the Bills had actually talked to Vick or a representative, because the story and speculation ended when Brandon said simply the Bills were "not interested".
Has that changed? Or is Dungy simply adding two and two and getting ten? Dungy is such a highly respected person and class act, that anything he says must be taken seriously, but in this case, there would be a LOT of things that would have to happen for the Vick-to-Buffalo scenario to play out.
In no particular order of importance, the Redskins, Rams and Browns all appear to be more publicly interested in the possibility of signing Vick, who is still only 29 years old. Vick has a year left on his contract in Philly at $5.2 million, and based on Vick's lack of production as an Eagle, it seems highly unlikely the Eagles would pick up that option year, making Vick a free agent.
The Eagles may have a tough time finding a trading partner, whether it's Buffalo or anybody else.
Saying Vick has had a lack of production is hard to overstate; in 7 games with the Eagles, Vick, lining up as both a quarterback and "Wildcat" back, has generated a TOTAL of 33 yards running and passing. That's just a little over four yards per game, which is right about the same as the Bills offense is averaging this season, or so it seems anyway. It seems, to me anyway, that the two years away from football, have taken a great toll on Vick as an athlete.
We won't even debate the whole issue of ethics or morality here. Yes, Vick did his time for the crime and seems contrite, but the horrific details of his direct deeds in the dog fighting ring he was a key part of make the "forgive and forget" idea tough to follow. Still, the majority of the sporting public seemed to give Vick the benefit of the doubt when he returned, so at least in terms of pr, the Bills would not be taking nearly the risk of the Eagles to make a play for him.
If it wern't for the fact Brandon and the Bills signed Terrell Owens, I wouldn't even give Dungy's comments a second glance. Now, almost nothing would surprise me. However, I think it would be a HUGE mistake for the Bills to sign Vick, despite the obvious fact they need an upgrade at quarterback and Vick still may have some upside left.
The Bills need a lot more than one player. The signing of T.O. certainly proves that even a high profile signing can't mask the other glaring weaknesses, like an under achieving offensive line and two quarterbacks who don't appear to be the long term answer.
Although we're only halfway through the season, it looks like a certainty the Bills will again draft a quarterback high in the 2010 NFL Draft, regardless of whether they resign Trent Edwards. Shelling out $5.2 million for Vick would be risky at best, foolish at worst. Clearly the Bills can't talk about Dungy's comments, because Vick is still under contract, and that would be tampering.
In fact, there is only one scenario that might work with regards to Vick; if Dungy agrees to come with him as a package deal to become coach and maybe gm. THEN, we might have something to talk about.....