NEWS: Well, I am out of town and of course as usual when I leave town something intriguing happens in the NFL. This weeks travel news is the firing of Tampa Bay Buc’s coach Jon Gruden. The firing is not as surprising as how quickly they replaced him promoting DC Raheem Morris to HC. It also keeps Gruden from having an opportunity to sign a deal with at least 4 teams, Denver, Detroit, St. Louis, and Cleveland. Morris has had no previous HC experience at any level. He interviewed with the Broncos for their coaching vacancy.
The St. Louis Rams also named NY Giants DC Steve Spagnuolo as their new HC. Spags was a much rumored candidate for the Kansas City Chiefs and new GM Scott Pioli. It is not expected that Herm Edwards will ultimately be retained although it is not out of the question.
Now on to the FA breakdown.
FREE AGENT BREAKDOWN
Call it the easiest position to predict this offseason as Shane pointed out in his look at the quarterback situation for the draft, the Dolphins don’t appear to be players of any sort in that arena. With the Phins sitting nicely with NFL Comeback Player of the Year Chad Pennington and youngster Chad Henne in the wings, the Phins will likely pass on the free agent list of QB’s opting instead for the draft if they plan to bring in competition.
What the Dolphins have:
Chad Pennington: signed immediately after his release last off-season, Pennington had only his 3rd full season of his career not missing any games. While the lasting taste of his 4 interception playoff performance will cause many fans to chant Henne, the reality is that Pennington will be the uncontested starter next season and the deal is his to lose not win.
Chad Henne: Henne played one series all last year and led the team to a score in their contest against the Cardinals. Henne claims to have learned an amazing amount behind Pennington. Pennington is film freak and his dedication to the team will have a lasting impact on the Michigan product. Still, Henne has watched Matt Ryan receive “Rookie of the Year” honors and Joe Flacco take his team to the AFC Championship and possibly the Super Bowl. While he is saying all the right things, he realizes that playing time is out of his hands and will bide his time and continue to sponge up the knowledge, training, and hand me down experience that Pennington is giving him.
John Beck: Beck is the forgotten man on the Dolphins. A starter at points last season, Beck has not been active all year. Beck struggled in training camp last season and while the coaching staff say that he is not in danger of being cut, the truth is that the Phins may draft another QB and Beck could be cut or traded. The Phins were rumored to have attempted to trade Beck last season to no avail.
Free Agent Market
The free agent market is actually thick with names. Most of them are career back-ups who will be looking for an opportunity to compete for a starting job. Something they won’t find in Miami. Accross the NFL, teams are not in dire need of QB’s. With the success of recent drafts, teams will look towards improving their current situation their. Teams who will likely look for new starters are Kansas City, Detroit, and the New York Jets possibly.
There are some teams who may bring in some veterans for competition with their incumbents but are not readily looking for a serious starter. Teams like Tampa, Minnessotta, and Washington come to mind. Teams looking for a sure hit starter will likely take a long look at Matt Cassel from New England or go the free agent route and look at names like Kurt Warner who has not yet resigned with Arizona, Chris Simms, or J.T. O’Sullivan who was off and on most of the year.
For the Dolphins, there really is no need to spend the money in free agency as they don’t need a starter or a back-up. They need to either go forward with John Beck as the number 3, trade him and draft a QB on day two, or cut him and draft a QB.
The top two spots are locked in place and the entire off-season of rumors will surround the future of John Beck. It really could go either way. If the team finds a rookie worth investing a draft pick for they will take one, if not they will go the “undrafted QB signing” in the days following the draft and allow that guy to compete with Beck in camp. Beck has yet to show much of his potential and his age will now hinder his future in the NFL. Look for Beck to be either replaced in the draft with a day 2 guy who is not a “true” QB, traded for a day 2 pick, or replaced in camp. I don’t think Beck will be on the roster when the season begins next September.