NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s thorough, detailed and measured response to Michael Vick’s reinstatement yesterday answered most questions about the former star quarterback’s status. But in speaking to some personnel executives this morning, NFL teams are awaiting clarification of one issue regarding Vick.
As part of the ruling yesterday, Goodell made it clear that Vick is a free agent and can sign with any team and participate in preseason activities and two exhibition games, counting as a member of an 80-man roster. However, it has not yet been communicated to teams precisely how Vick would impact a 53-man roster, should a team sign him, and not be made eligible to play in a regular-season game in Week 1.
It’s an issue worth exploring, because, as the personnel guys put it to me, depending on that outcome, signing Vick could be advantageous.
“What we’re wondering is, if you sign him and he can’t play Week 1, will there be a roster exemption?” one personnel exec said. “Could you open the regular season with 54, instead of 53 (players)? If that’s the case, it would work to his advantage and help his value. And what category would he go in? Would he been considered a suspended player? Will they create another designation for him?”
Another personnel exec put it in terms of game-day roster, wondering, if Vick was signed but not able to be active for Week 1 as per the commissioner, then would he merely be part of your roster but someone who would be a mandatory de-active player on Sundays until/unless granted the ability to play in games?
I checked in with Greg Aiello, the league’s communications guru (and someone I’ve been pestering lately — sorry), for any further clarification. He pointed out that as part of the press release issued by the league yesterday that there will be certain guidelines regarding Vick’s regular-season roster status that will be distributed by the NFL Player Personnel Department to all 32 teams, as well as to the quarterback himself.
I asked Greg if that communication had taken place yet today, and he said that it has not yet, but it likely will soon.
As I noted earlier this morning, the presence of Tony Dungy on Team Vick already is making the player more appealing to some clubs, and several execs I spoke with felt like Goodell’s work yesterday read as a vote of confidence to them in terms of Vick, whereas last week, some wondered if the commissioner’s tone, body language and ruling might end up chilling the Vick market somewhat.
“The way that the commissioner presented everything, and having Dungy on board, that will only help Vick,” one longtime NFL executive said.