Orton is now a Kansas City Chief

If the Dolphins … Which Veteran QB?


Many “experts” believe that the Miami Dolphins need to pick up a veteran QB to challenge Chad Henne for its starting QB position.  Given the state of the labor dispute, this belief may be stronger as it may be difficult for a rookie QB to come up to speed on the complex NFL offense the Dolphins plan to employ.  If the Dolphins management hold this belief about picking up a seasoned NFL player, which veteran QB should they pursue?  Let’s take a look at the numbers of several veteran QBs which the Dolphins may go after.

Before I go any further, I must say that I am not sure I hold this belief.  I believe that Sparano and Ireland are not ready to admit they screwed up by drafting Chad Henne.  Therefore, they may, if any, make only a token effort to acquire a veteran QB.  I also believe there are a couple of rookie QBs that could come in by mid season and make an impact on the Dolphins season — like Dan Marino did in 1983.

I decided to take a look at the numbers for four (4) veteran QBs — Matt Flynn, Kevin Kolb, Carson Palmer, and Kyle Orton.  These four I have heard the most buzz about.  I did not take a look at Donovan McNabb — I think he is too old — although, he may be a token acquisition.  I did not take a look at Vince Young — I think he has too many screws loose for the Dolphins.  In looking at the four vets, I compared their completion percentage, yards per attempt (YPA), touchdown to interception ratio (TDs/Ints), and sacks per attempt (SPA) percentage for the last two years of their veteran career, as well as, for the last two years in college.

Let’s start by taking a look at the numbers of the baseline … Chad Henne.  Like it or not, as Ireland has stated, Chad Henne is currently the only real option on the Dolphins roster.  Henne’s numbers are not that great — neither for the Dolphins or at Michigan — particularly the YPA and TDs/Ints.  I don’t know why the Dolphins draftedwhoopsI promised myself I would not go there!

Matt Flynn has been a two year back-up QB to Aaron Rodgers for the Green Bay Packers.  He did have an impressive game in 2010 against the Patriots filling in for the injured Rodgers.  But, he only has limited experience.  Plus, he has very pedestrian stats in college for his time at LSU.  I am not a fan of going after Flynn — he has a lot of risk.  He might become a token acquisition if pursued by the Dolphins.

Kevin Kolb was the future of the Philadelphia Eagles — that is, until along came Michael Vick.  Now, Andy Reid wants a first and second round pick for the former savior.  Wow!  Take a look at Kolb’s numbers.  Please keep in mind that Kolb’s 2009 numbers look very impressive, but only took place over 5 games.  I suggest that Kolb may have been in a zone during this stretch.  In 2010, Kolb played 8 games on a very good Eagles team with great wide-outs.  Kolb did not look as impressive — in fact, he has numbers similar to Chad Henne with similar characteristics — big, tall and strong armed with limited QB processing speed.  Note that Kolb had a very high SPA percentage (8.5%).  I do not believe he is worth what Reid is asking for — in fact, I believe he may be worth only a second rounder at best.  And, the Dolphins currently do not have a second round pick.

Carson Palmer of the Cincinnati Bengals has created much stir in Miami.  He does not want to play for the Bengals and says he will retire if not traded.  The Bengals said they will not trade him.  Many think the Dolphins are very interested.  Me, I don’t know why all the stir.  Over the last two years, Palmer’s numbers are very pedestrian — similar to Henne’s in completion percentage and in YPA.  It seems like his knee injury has diminished his skills.  It kind of sounds to me like someone else we went after a few years ago — can anyone say “Dante”?  I really think Palmer is not a good option.

Kyle Orton of the Denver Broncos has also created significant stir.  The theory is the Broncos wish to move onto the Tim Tebow era.  The Broncos have not indicated they wish to trade Orton.  But, all the “experts” think he is on the trading block.  I think that Orton’s career is following a similar path as fellow Purdue grad Drew Brees — just take a look at his stats over the last 2 years.  In particular, take a look at his YPA and TDs/Ints.  Orton’s completion ratio did go down in 2010.  But, that may had to a lot to do with Marshall leaving.  And, remember that Marshall has familiarity with Orton which may be helpful for a quick integration into the Miami offense.

What would it take for the Dolphins to get Orton?  I think he may be worth the Dolphins 15th pick in this year’s draft.  But, I don’t think the Dolphins would be willing to give that up considering they do not have a second rounder and have many holes to fill.  But, the Broncos have the 2nd pick in the draft which will cost them a lot of cap space to secure the pick.  They also have two second round picks (36th and 46th) and a third round pick (67th).  But, the Broncos have NO fourth, fifth or six round picks.  The Dolphins could trade the 15th pick for Orton and the Broncos 46th or 67th pick in the draft.

Let’s look at this trade possibility and what it means for the Broncos.  The Dolphins 15th pick has a trade value of 1,050.  The Broncos 46th pick has a trade value of 440 and the 67th pick has a trade value of 255.  This means, a trade that would include the 46th pick actually makes the trade worth a 30th pick of the first round to the Broncos.  A trade that would include the 67th pick actually makes the trade worth a 21st pick of the first round to the Broncos.  The Broncos may go for this and the Dolphins may accept.  Personally, I think Orton and the 46th pick would be a good trade for the 15th pick — good for both teams.  The Broncos would wind up with two first round picks plus an early second pick and an early third round pick.  The Dolphins would get an NFL starter for their first round pick and add a second rounder to its draft picks.

But, wouldn’t the labor dispute screw up this opportunity?  Maybe not!  Here is a hypothetical for you.  Suppose it is draft day and the labor dispute has not been resolved such that trades of players are not possible.  No problem.  The Broncos just let the Dolphins know who to select at the 15th pick and the Dolphins let the Broncos know who to select at the 46th or 67th pick.  Then, the trade takes place once the labor dispute is resolved.  It may sound risky.  But, it is possible.

On the other hand, there is always the possibility of just going with Henne and drafting a QB in the second or third round.  Like I have discussed before, I believe the Dolphins will trade down in the first round to pick up a second rounder.  I believe they will use the lower first round pick to choose an OL.  Their second or third rounder could be used to select one of the following QBs:

I am in the camp of selecting Andy Dalton in the second or third round.  There are many skeptics about selecting Dalton.  But, keep in mind that Dalton had an excellent pro day completing 49 of 52 passes that included two drops.  One completed pass went for over 60 yards thrown on the run.  Pretty Impressive!  Yeh, I know … he comes from one of those spread offenses.  But, Brian Daboll plans to implement more shot gun offense with four wide-outs.  Huh!  Is that not a spread offense?  What do you want?  Do you want Chad Henne who hates the spread?  Or, a spread QB and teach him how to work from under the center?

What do you all think about trading for a vet?  And, which vet?

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Tags: Andy Dalton Brandon Marshall Carson Palmer Chad Henne Jeff Ireland Kevin Kolb Kyle Orton Matt Flynn Miami Dolphins NFL NFL Draft Tony Sparano

  • thomas loy

    Personally, I cannot see Miami parting with a draft pick for a veteran QB. I think Miami will trade down to pick up more draft picks. Miami has met with kaepernick 3 times, so that appears to be the QB they will draft, but it could be a smokescreen. I am also not convinced any QB drafted
    couldn’t learn the offense. Henne has met with Daboll and reportedly knows the offense and will pass that knowledge on.

  • http://www.bleepthatithink.blogspot.com Michael Rosenbloom

    First off, I have to say I do like your graphs, but you need to realize that play on the field does not always translate to top notch stats. You need to look at other things besides what you did. The system they played in, experience, who they had around them, ownership, etc. Especially when talking about Matt Flynn and Kevin Kolb, who neither have a whole lot of starting experience.

    Secondly, there is no chance the Phins will trade all the way out of the first round for a veteran QB. Orton comes from an offense where the running game was an afterthought. The Dolphins aren’t like that, and they never will be. Orton’s numbers are inflated (trust me I know, he was my fantasy QB last season, ugh) and a lot of his stats were garbage time stats where the Broncos were playing catch up.

    And my final point, don’t just leave out players that are feasible options because you don’t like them. Vince Young will probably come the cheapest of any of the options and does have experience winning. I’m not saying he is a great fit for the Dolphins, but he may be a fit nonetheless, especially if the regime wants to bring in veteran leadership cheap. Same goes for McNabb.

    Sorry if this came off harsh. You have some good information in here, just be careful and don’t cling stubbornly to those graphs.

    • Willie beamon

      To be fair Orton came from the Bears first playing in a limited passing offense and he played well in 2008 his last year with the Bears .

      He gives you a veteran who has sen both ends of the extreme in the NFL and imo that is a good thing. Hes said to be very very intelligent and was able to pick up the complicated Patriots offense very quickly.

      Also the Broncos running game wasnt an afterthought it flat out sucked. They had one of the better playaction passing attacks in the league which is strange because they had no running game . If we insert Orton into our offense I think we would be a much improved team.

      I would not offer our first for him though unless we at least got back one of there second rd picks.

      But considering hes shown

      he can excel in a run heavy offense which emphasizes the TE and RB with a bunch of no huddle (Bears 2008 )

      he can excel in a dink and dunk shotgun offense (broncos 2009)

      he can excel in a big play passing attack (Broncos 2010)

      hes only 28 years old I would have to think long and hard about making a move .

  • markeyh

    It’s Strange that the two QB’s you left out both happen to be African American….

    • MassanuttenRef

      I can assure you that race had nothing to do with it. If you knew me, you would not even make the inference.

  • markeyh

    Carson Palmer is 31 and Donovan McNabb is 34…but you dismiss McNabb as too old?

    Vince Young who IMO is one of the best Yong QB’s in the Game. Who I would take over Kolb, Flynn or Orton but you say “I think he has too many screws loose for the Dolphins”

    I call it like I see it, even without knowing you! You dismissed both African American QB’s with bias in my opinion! You did ask for my opinion by making yours public.

    Just saying…

  • markeyh

    A better reason to not take McNabb in my opinion is because he is a WCO QB as is Flynn and Kolb so for Miami I do not see them as a good fit.

    So it would be between Orton, Palmer, and V Young.

    I would take any one of them whoever would come with the cheapest price with out having to give up a draft pick..

    I am still behind Henne and feel it’s a big mistake to create the potential QB controversy that will erupt as soon as they bring in any QB who is not a HUGE upgrade over Henne.

    And there is not QB in FA or the Draft that is leaps and bounds over Henne IMO.

    To many spoiled Marino fans who can’t understand what they have in Henne

  • Ian

    Finally somebody on board with me and picking Dalton!!! If I were to select a veteran to go along with Henne and a rookie, it would surprisingly be Marc Bulger. He’s an experienced winning QB that would come cheaper than the other higher profile QB’s you’ve listed. There are reports he’s in the best shape he has been in a long time. And he’d be a great mentor for the younger QB’s.

  • http://customsoftwaredevelopment.com Andy

    Sign Young and McNabb. Both will come cheap and are winners and we won’t need to give up any draft picks. Trade back in the first if possible and take the best player available.

  • Bert Smith

    A very good article and an interesting read. You’ve definitely got me thinking by posing this question and providing the supporting data….