NFL Roundup: Jets cut Sanchez, sign Vick; Panthers sign ex-Viking Webb
The New York Jets made a change at quarterback on Friday, signing free-agent Michael Vick and releasing Mark Sanchez.
Vick and the Jets reached agreement on a one-year contract worth up to $5 million, according to reports. He leaves the Philadelphia Eagles after being replaced as the starter last season by Nick Foles.
“We are excited to acquire Michael Vick,” said Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who coached Vick from 2009 to 2012 with the Eagles. “He’s a great talent who’s won many games, including playoff games, in this league. He has the respect of both his teammates and opponents.
“He’s here in a role where he’s going to compete and push Geno Smith to become the very best that he can be. Michael will be able to go in and play at a high level and a winning level if called upon.”
Vick joined the Eagles in 2009 after six years with the Atlanta Falcons and serving time in prison on federal gambling and dogfighting charges. He was Philadelphia’s starting quarterback after the 2013 preseason but suffered a hamstring injury and gave way to Foles after his last start in a Oct. 27 loss to the New York Giants.
“I have an opportunity to come in and compete,” Vick said, according to the Jets’ website. “Push Geno, help him. Be there for him. And just try to help this team win some games in whatever way I can, and that’s going to be my contribution.”
Vick has made it clear that he wants to be a starter again. That means competing with Smith.
“They’re getting a great football player and a great person,” Vick said. “I think at the end of the day, regardless of what happened in the past, I’m here to do one thing. And that’s play football. And I think that will be embraced. It’s already been embraced in the building.”
Sanchez was selected by the Jets with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and started 62 games in five years, posting a 33-29 record and passing for 68 touchdowns with 69 interceptions.
Releasing Sanchez, who was due a $2 million bonus on March 25, saved the Jets $8.3 million against the salary cap.
“I’d like to thank Mark for everything he’s done for this team and me personally,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “We were rookies together and had some early success, becoming the first rookie head coach and quarterback to go to back-to-back championship games. We experienced a lot together and I really appreciate Mark. He’s a great player, a great teammate, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Sanchez, who becomes a free agent, lost the starting job to Geno Smith, a rookie last season, when he suffered a shoulder injury in the Jets’ third presason game against the New York Giants. He sat out the 2013 season after undergoing shoulder surgery and also an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee.
Sanchez’s best years came early in his career with the Jets. He established franchise rookie records for passing yards with 2,444 and completions with 196 as the team’s first rookie quarterback to start the opening game of the season. In the 2009 postseason, Sanchez led the Jets to the AFC Championship game.
In Sanchez’s second year, the Jets won 11 regular-season games and he passed for 3,291 yards and 17 touchdowns. New York made it to the AFC Championship game again, this time losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Jets have not returned to the playoffs since then and Sanchez had 52 turnovers in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Former Viking Webb inks deal with Panthers
The Carolina Panthers reached a two-year agreement with free-agent wide receiver Tiquan Underwood and agreed to one-year deals with cornerback Antoine Cason and quarterback Joe Webb on Friday.
Webb will be a quarterback for the Panthers. He completed 88 of 152 pass attempts for 853 yards for the Minnesota Vikings, who switched him to wide receiver last season.
“Joe had a strong workout for us today. He is a young player who intrigues us and has a similar skill set to Cam,” said Carolina head coach Ron Rivera. “With Cam sidelined for the spring, it is an opportunity to get a good evaluation of Joe as well as Matt Blanchard, who was on our practice squad last year.”
The Panthers are looking to replace their top four receivers from last season. Steve Smith was released, and Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon were lost to free agency.
Thursday, they got started by signing former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery.
Underwood will likely compete as the third receiver and a spot on special teams as a kick returner. He caught a career-high 24 passes for 440 yards with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year. He was a seventh-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009.
Cason started 45 games for the Chargers from 2010 to ‘12. He has 14 NFL interceptions.
Texans trade Schaub to Raiders for draft pick
Matt Schaub gets a new start as a starting quarterback with Oakland.
Schaub, pending a physical, was traded from the Houston Texans for a sixth-round draft pick Friday. He will sit atop a Raiders depth chart with Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin also under contract.
Schaub lost his starting spot with the Texans in the midst of a 14-game losing streak last season that led to Houston earning the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. It was widely presumed he would be cut before the start of free ag-ency, but with no deadlines for bo-nuses in his contract structure ahead, the Texans held onto Schaub to invite trade offers.
The Texans signed former Titans backup Ryan Fitzpatrick on Thursday, cementing Schaub’s fate.
Schaub, 46-44 as a starter, lost his grip on the quarterback job in Houston after a disastrous start to the 2013 season, including an interception returned for a touchdown during a league-record four consecutive games. Schaub was booed in his home stadium and replaced by undrafted Case Keenum.
The Raiders are familiar with this route of trading for seasoned, often out-of-favor veteran starters. Carson Palmer was acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 for multiple draft picks but sent him to the Arizona Cardinals after two seasons. Matt Flynn was acquired from the Seattle Seahawks but was released at midseason after two poor showings.
Schaub led the Texans to a 12-4 record during the 2012 season before flaming out late after throwing 22 touchdowns with 12 interceptions when he made the Pro Bowl for the second time since 2009.
He turns 33 in June and has 80 career regular-season starts.
New head coach Bill O’Brien said at the scouting combine he was still evaluating his roster with the Texans.
Schaub leaves as Houston’s all-time leading passer, a two-time Pro Bowl performer and the 2012 winner of the team’s Ed Block Courage Award.
“On behalf of the Houston Texans organization, I’d like to thank Matt Schaub for the contributions he has made to this franchise on and off the field,” Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith said in a statement. “Matt and his wife, Laurie, have given so much back to the Houston community through their GR8 Hope Foundation and have really served as role models here in so many ways. We wish the entire Schaub Family well in the future.”
McKenzie and the Raiders have shown interest in the 2014 quarterback draft class, notably Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel is likely to draw consideration as well. His personal pro day workout in March 27.
Coach Dennis Allen said in February the Raiders are working to figure out if Pryor can be an NFL starter.