I have been reading a lot of these offseason wish-list posts the last few days, mostly because there have been a lot of them. A lot of them include some really cringe-worthy stuff, some of them make a lot of sense. I guess I wanted to give it a shot, too, and I haven't seen one that made a legitimate, thought-out case for why we should trade Vick, so here goes.
One of the first things people said this year when you brought up the Kolb-Vick thing was, "With Kolb, we would have to spend at least 43 years rebuilding for him to learn the system and transition the offense, with Vick, we are ready to win RIGHT GODDAMNED NOW THIS VERY MINUTE A SUPER BOWL TODAY NOW! AND ALSO HE WILL WIN US EVERY SUPER BOWL EVERY YEAR AND HE IS THE BEST." And that at least had some basis in reality, because Kolb lost 2 games early (one to an at the time VERY good Titans team, and one to a pretty bum Redskins team) and Vick went on a crazy tear as soon as he became the starter and was winning games (mostly against bum teams, but wins are wins). Well, here's what I say to the premise that Kolb=a couple rebuilding years and Vick=just add water SB:
OUR QB IS NOT, AND HAS NEVER BEEN, THE PROBLEM.
Let's say Vick is in fact the better QB (I don't actually believe this, but it seems most people do, and they may very well be right, I'm not a professional talent scout, so we'll just say he's better). Signing him, and anointing him The Answer will not help our secondary at all, and it actually, I believe, will HURT our offensive line over time. See, with Kolb, you need at least an average O-line*, with Vick you don't need one at all. Keeping him around just might cause the team to undervalue the position. "Oh, just throw whoever in, Vick will run for 20 yards anyway." True, but if he gets hurt we have to play a human being at QB, and every other QB in the league needs some sort of offensive line. The secondary and the offensive line are the reason why this team did not dominate everyone this year, regardless of who would have been playing QB. This is my point:
A -The talent "drop" from Vick to Kolb (again, there probably is one, but I don't see it) wouldn't kill us. Look at the Jets, they have a legit shot at beating the Patriots tonight and their QB is aggressively average. This is because they are a great team top to bottom.
B -We'd get a MUCH better value for Vick than we would for Kolb at this point.
So, in this scenario, we're not going to sign Vick to a 26-year contract like some people have suggested we do. Franchise tag, trade. (Assuming a CBA gets done, which probably won't happen, so this is all moot anyway.) So what could we get for him? A first round pick ? Yeah, I'd think so. A first round pick plus? Probably. His value certainly isn't as high as it was around week 10 or 11, where we likely could have gotten a top 5 and another first or second, or something crazy like that. (And yes, I know. Hindsight, hindsight... this was after the deadline and it was super obvious at that point that we weren't trading Vick because he was in the process of leading us to a Super Bowl without a defense).
Free agency arrives. We resign Sims for minimal cash, so as not to appear desperate, with the intention of cutting him later when we sign a free agent OLB. We pay Desean his money. We sign any old dime-a-dozen veteran QB to backup Kolb (Trent Edwards, Rex Grossman, etc). Then, we make our free-agency splash(es). Two players, both have been discussed a lot here. Chad Greenway, and
Ronde Barber Nnamdi, obviously. Break the banks for them, if we have to. Overpay. If such a thing as a quick fix exists, signing a young stud OLB and the best defensive player in the league would be it. Backup plans would be Barrett Ruud and Champ Bailey, respectively, but really, Nnamdi and Chad are the crown jewels of this whole thing and I would not be half as excited with Ruud or Bailey.
So we got a top-15 pick, a third, and a fourth for Vick (I'm just pulling this out of my ass insofar as I don't have a specific team in mind, but this seems like about Vick's value.) Not bad, not bad at all. So what splashy draft pick are we taking? We're not trading up to the 4th overall pick and taking Cam Newton like that other dude said. We're getting back to brass tacks. Remember the very late 90s and early 2000s when this team was dominant every year? They drafted offensive and defensive linemen to a completely disproportionate degree. The drafts were boring to watch, because I don't pretend to scout linemen, and I didn't know any of the dudes they were taking. BUT IT WORKED. They need to get back to that model. As far as I'm concerned, the offense is stacked everywhere but the line, focus on that. This team is good at getting lots of picks, probably the second best team in the league at managing the draft, and in the top 10 at talent evaluation. That's how we stay competitive. I'm just saying it'd help us greatly if we, just for this year, hopped in the time machine and went back to the days where we draft, like, 8 linemen (and no cheating, Howie. I mean real linemen, not DE/LB hybrids. Dummy. J/k about the dummy part.).
So now we've got positively elite players at OLB and CB, two of our biggest weaknesses from this year. We've got some O-linemen who can hopefully push for a starting job, and Allen and Graham and our dime CB/KR Hobbs back healthy. Now our defensive lineup is every bit as terrifying as our offense was this year, and our offense is still a top 10 if not top 5 unit. The best part is, this is all utterly realistic. It could happen, and is absolutely my dream scenario.
CLIFF'S NOTES: Sign Nnamdi and Greenway AT ALL COSTS. Franchise Vick, trade for draft picks, draft linemen (O and D). Win 15 games next year.
*(I really didn't want this to be a Kolb vs. Vick post (I'm gonna do one of those later), so I'm gonna make this a note and be done with the subject: Kolb is a pretty mobile dude. He doesn't need the Packers' or the Steelers' offensive line to be successful, he just needs some serviceable players in front of him, something the team absolutely lacked this year.)