With the selection of Matt Ryan as the No. 3 pick in the draft the Atlanta Falcons sent a clear signal that they are done with Michael Vick. While Atlanta and other football fans are left with the question of whether Ryan will succeed as Vick's successor as the franchise quarterback, a bigger question looms.
What happens to Michael Vick?
While there have been conflicting reports, mostly because of Arthur Blank, as to whether or not Vick is playing football in prison, I'm more curious to see where he ends up when he's out of jail.
Vick could be back in time for the 2009 season and will probably land with a struggling franchise with lots of quarterback questions. With the parody in the league it's difficult to predict who will be coming off of a poor 2008 season, but looking at the ages on a few rosters could provide some clues as to who would be interested in Vick at a price that will undoubtedly be a bargain compared to his pre-jail salary that peaked at more than $23 million in 2006.
The Baltimore Ravens desperately wanted to have Ryan for themselves and now they may get stuck with a more questionable quarterback unless they attain Joe Flacco, Chad Henne or Brian Brohm. The team in general is aging, especially the defense, and may need a spark plug like Vick (who will only be 29 if he's back next year) to give them a push as they will be past the worst of their rebuilding stage by 2009.
There's also the Kansas City Chiefs, another team that was considering Ryan as their choice if Atlanta didn't take him. Damon Huard and his backups are not the answer in the midwest. Someone like Vick could be an ideal fit on a team that generally plays an up-tempo type of offense in which he could thrive. He'll also be away from the big-city lore of a location on the east or west coast.
Of course this all depends on whether or not Vick is even capable, physically and mentally, of returning to NFL stardom when he leaves prison. Whether he is discharged in 2009 is unclear. What is clear though, is that Vick will have some work to do when he gets out, and it won't be anything like the kitchen duties he's taken up in prison.