With Bruce Gradkowski on IR with a dislocated finger, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Michael Vick to a one-year deal Tuesday.
Vick spent last season with the Jets backing up Geno Smith, appearing in 10 games and starting three. Prior to that, the Virginia Tech product played in Philadelphia for five years, making a Pro Bowl in 2010.
What are the Steelers’ plans for Vick?
“Well, clearly their plans are to have a backup in place should something happen to Ben Roethlisberger,” Pittsburgh WPXI sports director Alby Oxenreiter said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Bruce Gradkowski had been backup. He had surgery (Tuesday) to fix his left ring finger. (He) tore some ligaments, dislocated some bones. So they bring Vick in. They needed an experienced player. Vick gives them that. He will be Ben’s backup. If something happens to Ben, they needed somebody who could step in, and Michael Vick is the guy.”
Where that leaves Landry Jones, nobody knows. A 2013 fourth-rounder, Landry is yet to make an impact in the NFL.
“I think the best way to put it is nobody really knows where he is right now,” Oxenreiter said. “This is a guy that is certainly coming along, but he’s not going to be the guy that’s able to step in at this point if something happens to Ben Roethlisberger. I don’t think this is so much an indictment of Landry Jones as it is them needing someone who can step in if Ben Roethlisberger goes out with an injury. Vick brings some experience, he certainly brings a lot of baggage as well. Quite honestly, many fans in the Steeler Nation are not happy about the signing because they’ve put themselves in a position (where) they’re brought a guy in who was not only famous for his considerable talent, but he’s infamous for his role in the dog-fighting ring in 2007, when he pled guilty (and) served prison time. And with that comes a lot of fans who are very ticked off right now that the Steelers made this move.”
Scott Ferrall has a hard time believing that. The dog fighting scandal was eight years ago, and if New York accepted Vick, then surely Pittsburgh can too, right?
“Well, I think you talk to guys who played with Vick,” Oxenreiter said. “Brandon Boykin (is) one of the new Steelers (who) came over from the Eagles in the trade. He played with Vick for a couple years (and) called him a great teammate and a great player. Remember, though: Vick’s 35 now. He’s run for over 6,000 yards as a quarterback, but he’s 35 now and he’s coming off an injury a couple years back where he’s not able to do as much as maybe he did certainly before he got into the trouble that he had.”
While Vick’s legs aren’t what they used to be, neither is his left arm. He has thrown just eight touchdowns in 17 games over the past two seasons.
“But he’s a guy with experience,” Oxenreiter said. “And I think at this point in time, that probably makes him better than most.”