ORLANDO, Fla. -- The New York Jets are taking a calculated risk by placing Michael Vick in a quarterback competition with Geno Smith. Some believe Vick's presence could be a hindrance to Smith's development.
"To the contrary, I think it helps Geno," general manager John Idzik said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings, commenting for the first time on Vick. "Mike brings a wealth of experience, both on the field in the NFL, and off the field, he's been through a lot. He's grown as a player. He's grown as a person. That helps not only Geno, but we have a relatively young locker room. It'll help our guys."
The Jets did a lot of research into Vick's background -- specifically, his sordid involvement in a dogfighting ring, which led to nearly two years in a federal prison. Owner Woody Johnson reached out to commissioner Roger Goodell, who has developed a relationship with Vick over the years, and Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. The Jets are satisfied he'll be a good fit in the locker room.
Idzik touched on a few other topics:
• Criticized for his relatively slow pace in free agency, Idzik defended his philosophy, reiterating that he's building for the long term. Johnson made it clear Sunday that he's tired of being patient, that he wants to win now. So which is it?
"I wouldn't mistake deliberate for lack of activity or patience," Idzik said. "We want to win now. We want to win tomorrow. We want to win the next day. We want something sustainable. We don't want something that's short-lived."
• As expected, Idzik wouldn't comment directly on Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Speaking in general, he said he's not opposed to having two big-money players at wide receiver. The Jets already have Eric Decker, who received a five-year, $36.25 million contract. Idzik said a number of factors go into a decision like that -- i.e. age, future cap costs, depth at the position, etc.
• Idzik said they weren't blindsided by cornerback Antonio Cromartie's decision to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. He said "we had open lines of communication with Antonio right through to the end," but he wouldn't say they declined to match the deal he received from the Cards -- one year, $3.5 million.
• The Jets have a gaping hole at cornerback and the top free agents are gone. This is a problem. Idzik insisted he has it under control.
"I know the flashier signings, if you will, may have happened," he said. "But there are a lot of possibilities going forward -- at the receiver position as well. That may be street free agents, that may be a trade, a waiver claim or the draft. It's not done yet."