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Jimmie Johnson: Panthers Need Vick

NFL News - January 17th, 2010 - Written by John

panthersMichael Vick told reporters at the end of the year that he would like to find somewhere to be a starting quarterback in the NFL again, and Fox Sports analyst Jimmy Johnson thinks he knows just the place.

Responding to a question during the channel's pregame show, Johnson emphatically interrupted Curt Menafee to say he believes the Carolina Panthers should make a push for the once-star, turned felon, who found redemption with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"The Carolina Panthers," he said. "The Carolina Panthers need him desperately."

Other members of the panel quickly ribbed Johnson for having preference to the Panthers because he has a personal relationship with head coach John Fox. But Carolina would be an interesting choice because it was one team that inquired about him initially when he was released from prison.

They inevitably balked because Jake Delhomme's ink was still wet on a four-year deal he signed in the summer. But with his accuracy plummeting, and Vick's impending availability, the Panthers may be forced to make another play.

It may have been a no-brainer if not for Matt Moore's surgence at the end of the year, though. As a career backup over three years, Moore stepped in when Delhomme broke fingers in his throwing hand. He threw eight touchdowns and only one interception in the season's final five games, and won four of them. His last three wins were impressive, coming against the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and New Orleans Saints.


Two of those teams, Minnesota and New Orleans, looked poised to meet in the NFC Championship.

But Vick would certainly provide a better bang for Carolina's buck, selling tickets and merchandise at a far better clip than Moore would. The interest my be contingent on the head coaching situation. John Fox is still in office and has been granted a one-year option for next year. But he may decide to leave on his own terms and go somewhere else less hostile. If he stays, his loyalty would likely lie with Delhomme or Moore. If he goes, new management may want to start anew and bring in a fresh regime.

Vick is still under contract with Philadelphia, but it is assumed that the club will not pick up his option for 2010, making him free to go anywhere. He threw a touchdown pass in the Eagles first-round loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and looked like he had begun returning to 2006 form.

But he was used sparingly in the wildcat formation and the team said they would be bringing Donovan McNabb back as the starter, thus meaning there is really nothing to gain by either party if Vick returns.

Several sportsbooks are favoring Philadelphia to cut Vick. He has 1/1 NFL odds to be let go, according to Bodog, 13/4 odds to stay, and 10/11 odds to be traded.