Dolphins Turn Eyes To Free Agency & Draft

Jeff Ireland is sitting in Mobile, Alabama with his most trusted scouts.  They are scoping out the talent from the Senior Bowl practices.  Interviewing potential draft picks and making plans for the future of this team.  When this week concludes, Ireland will take back to Miami a laundry list of “need to more” and “not a chance in hell” players.  He will sit down with new HC Joe Philbin and discuss an action plan that will stretch out through February into early March.

Then the real fun begins.

The focus of Jeff Ireland is no longer on the coaching hunt, it’s on the draft and free agency.  Two questions will need to be asked, one, who will be the starting QB and two what system is Philbin going to run in Miami on both sides of the ball.  Why does the second matter?  Simple, if Miami doesn’t have the players to fit they systems they will have to find them.

Both questions come unanswered.  For now.  Of the two, Miami fans tend to dwell on the first of the two and rightfully so.  Miami has been without a franchise QB since Dan Marino.  The closest person to come to succeeding him was Jay Fiedler and too has been gone now since 2004.   When talk turns to the QB, it’s sure to get interesting and nothing will bring up more debate than Matt Flynn and Peyton Manning.

Manning represents the franchise to fans.  He is proven.  A winner.  He has the “it” factor that coaches and owners talk about.  He alone would sell tickets to games regardless of wins and losses.  He would immediately improve an offense that has been stagnant for the better part of 10 years.  He bring identity on both a local and national level.  His presence alone would likely put the Dolphins back on national TV in 2012 despite their poor showing this past season.  In other words, Manning could do more for the Miami Dolphins than any QB or coach since Marino retired.

He also comes with a giant question mark.

If Manning were healthy we would not be discussing his availability and the Colts would not have the first pick in the draft.  If Manning was getting healthier, the Colts would not be discussing whether they should pay his 28 million dollar roster bonus in March and if he were healthy, we wouldn’t be naming the other teams who might have interest in adding him.  Washington, Arizona, and the New York Jets.  But Manning is not healthy.  So we discuss it.

Manning has moved into the twilight of his career.  He can still throw the ball with as much accuracy has he ever has.  He can still lead a team.  The question is, can he take a hit?  For the Dolphins, it’s something to think about.  Money is not an issue and anyone who knows, has spoken to, or read about Stephen Ross, the one consistent thing is if he wants someone, then money is not an issue.

He will have to pony up quite a bit for the rights to Peyton Manning.  Manning however still needs to get healthy and there is no guarantee that he will fully recover or that the money paid to him on his contract will ever reap the rewards from the old Manning or the recovering injured one.  Manning has had three neck surgeries and the nerves are still repairing from the damage.  Any length of medical check-up won’t reveal 100 percent if he can return.  Yet a decision on his future will be made in March.  Either by the Colts or by the team that signs him as a free agent.

If Manning is the gold tip on the top of the pyramid, then at the bottom you will find Matt Flynn.  Flynn is the unknown.  A two game performer who played exceptionally well.  He will parlay that two game period into starting QB money.  He is young yet unproven.  As much as Manning will be in play for the teams mentioned above, as many teams may look at Flynn as their answer at QB as well.  The Miami Dolphins have an edge.

The hiring of Joe Philbin will give Miami an insiders view of Flynn.  He is the only offensive coach that Flynn has known in the pro’s and thus the only coach that has worked with him to develop his skills.  He has spent his entire career backing up Aaron Rodgers.  A position he earned by beating out 2nd round pick Brian Brohm in training camp back in 2008.

Philbin will know what kind of QB Flynn is and more importantly we will as well.  If the Dolphins pursue Flynn and do so hard, then we know that Philbin unequivocally believes in his ability to run his offense.  If the Dolphins do not, you know that Flynn isn’t on the top Philbin’s list of QB’s.  For fans, who tend to debate the issue far more than the press or the team, will dissect every pass and every delivery.  Some fans see a future star while others would rather set their sites an on equally unproven rookie.

Matt Flynn may have two NFL games of experience.  An incoming rookie will have none.  Yet many believe the way to go is with the rookie.  The Dolphins are not in position to land Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin, III without trading the farm to move up.  With no other QB projected to be a high first round pick, the Dolphins will have to look later in the draft.  Either in rounds 2 or even beyond.

It’s because of this logic that while fans will spend this week breaking down the QB’s that are at the Senior Bowl, Jeff Ireland will be doing the same.  Ireland will compile all the information he can on all the players, not just the QB’s that he sees between now, the Combine, pro-days, and eventually it will all culminate in his next draft.  On March 13th, the free agent window will slide open and some of the names will change on his list.  QB is expected to bring a strong drive from the Dolphins front office, but which QB and which direction they turn, remains a mystery that will not be answered until that window is fully open.

In the meantime, all anyone can do is speculate.

Topics: Jeff Ireland, Joe Philbin, Matt Flynn, Miami Dolphins, Peyton Manning

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  • gdlow

    Lets see…Flynn threw for 6 touch downs, but 4 of them were caught at the line of scrimmage and ran in by the receiver…One was a “circus” catch by Jordy (announcers words)…Only two passes that highlight his capability, yet we have quite a bit of Moore to evaluate…and he looks better to me…doesn’t mean he doesn’t have things to improve on…but lets go with Moore and draft a QB…remember…Brady was a 6th round pick in the draft…

    • Brian Miller

      To me, Moore is a back-up. If Philbin believes that Flynn is a franchise QB I rely on that opinion. It’s his team and his task to turn it around. Moore is serviceable but not a long term solution. Again, not to say that Flynn is, but if Philbin believes that he is, then I go that route.

  • RoeBlount

    Brady was good in college but sharing time with Drew Henson messed up his draft stock. The first round guys are first round for a reason. Luck and RG3 are both good and Miami needs to try to get one, forget Matt Flynn.

    • Brian Miller

      Couldn’t disagree more. Luck absolutely. Would give up the farm to get him. RGIII? Wouldn’t trade one pick to move up for him. I would go with Flynn first. RGIII is going to be average at best as a passing QB, IMO. I want a pocket QB who can run, not a running QB who has to try and stay in the pocket. I don’t want Tebow the 2nd. I would much rather stay at 8 or 9 and draft a top WR that fits into Philbins offense.

  • stevehoffart

    Said it before and I’m sticking to it. Sign Flynn and draft Brandon Weeden. Done!

    • Brian Miller

      I don’t agree with Flynn and Weedon. Manning and Weedon yes. Flynn will get a starters salary and likely will be given three or four years to prove himself. Weedon is already encroaching on 30 so his time frame is short to get into the picture. Manning will play another two years three at the most and if he is injured than a guy like Weedon has a quicker start time. I would go with one of the younger QB’s in the draft to mold instead. I do like Weedon though and would love to see him in Miami, but only if we end up…God forbid…with a QB like Orton.

  • Lespaul

    @RoeBlount ya know, I forgot all about that mess with Drew Henson. funny how no one remembers drew Henson anymore..

  • Lespaul

    Manning?? Very intriguing and certainly would be beneficial for any of the young QB’s in waiting…Flynn, Moore, Weedon, whoever. All that said, NONE of these guys are going to succeed with the current offensive line. If I were Manning I would look hard at film on Moore running for his life and Henne taking a pounding.

    • Brian Miller

      Won’t get Manning and Flynn. Flynn will command a starting salary. Manning and a guy like Tannenhill makes sense. ? is, is Mannings injury worth the risk vs. the salary he will receive? He won’t get a simple 8 mill per year it will be much more.

  • RoeBlount

    @stevehoffart neither will be good for Miami

    • Brian Miller

      Both would be good for Miami. It’s solid competition and both will also allow Miami to draft a QB in rounds 2 or 3 as well to develop.

  • bill.stowers

    I vote we trust philbin on flynn. He knows best about him. Like brian said, if we go for him then he is obviousely worth it. If we don’t well then we have a very capable bridge QB/ MAYBE franchise QB in matt moore. I don’t see much promice in this years QB class besides luck and rg3. And I don’t think RG3 is worth the whole farm to get. I vote if we don’t get flynn then we improve the line, draft that receiver out of oklahoma state and see what matt moore can really do. (Keep pat devlin as a back up regardless what we do) I think he can become something.

  • RoeBlount

    @bill.stowers the o-line can be improved in free agency. There are some proven all pro young studs available this year.

  • stevehoffart

    @RoeBlount Based on what? Crystal ball? If so, can I borrow it for some other stuff?

  • RoeBlount

    @stevehoffart based on history and watching them play. Flynn is another Matt Casel or Kevin Kolb and see how they turned out. Then there is Weeden, need I remind you of Chris Wienki, same type of situation accept in college Wienki won a title

    • Brian Miller

      Roe: I have to disagree with you here. You say “Based on watching them play” Kevin Kolb started for Philly. There is plenty of tape on him and last year many argued that he could be a bust waiting to happen. I think he still has potential but to be honest, the Lockout last year I think was detrimental to his play in Arizona. As for Cassell, he had that one season in place of Tom Brady that read more like a Scott Mitchell script replacing Dan Marino after the Achille’s injury. The point is that I agree with you Matt Flynn is an unknown. To us and to the staff of the Dolphins. But not to Joe Philbin. Philbin is the only coach Flynn has had in GB so I think JP has a good idea of what he would be getting in terms of both his strengths and weaknesses. Your comment about seeing them all play really doesn’t account for everything as Flynn has only started one game and played in another. I defer to Philbin for two reasons. One, he knows what he will get with him or not get with him, and two, he will be staking his job on that decision.

  • bill.stowers

    @RoeBlount I know there’s many good lineman in free agency. But I still don’t think it will hurt to draft one too. Usually the linemen we draft turn out to be pro bowl caliber studs.

  • gdlow

    @RoeBlount are 1st rd QB picks always worth the pick…Tell me how good were these 1st rd names..Druckenmiller, Jamarcus russell, Sam Bradford, Vince Young, Alex Smith, David Carr, Tim Couch, Mark Sanchez, Harrington, etc., etc.There is more failures than success or better yet “Franchise QB’s”

  • bill.stowers

    @gdlow how could you say sam bradford is a failure????? He’s only played 2 seasons and 1 he did really good. This year tho only reason why he failed is because there was enought injuries to an all ready talent thin Oline and WR group that he had absolutely no chance in hell of succeding this year. I don’t want to draft a QB in the first round this year at all but cmon man.

  • gdlow

    @bill.stowers My only point is that to assume a 1st rd pick is automatically a “franchise QB” is not realistic…People are extremely quick to point out that Moore struggled not because of the right side of the line, but because of him, yet because Bradford was a 1st rounder, he gets a pass..What was Bradford’s record this year and what was Moore, and what was the difference in number of sacks given up by each team.

    I am not saying Bradford is bad, but people look at things with blinders on…

  • keb8880

    @RoeBlount@stevehoffart

    There is a small group of men that actually know what Flynn is all about and you are not one of them! That group would be the offensive staff in Green Bay. As Brian said, if Philbin stays away then you are right, but if Philbin goes after Flynn, I would say he knows more than you. Weeden is too old to consider drafting, I agree with you there. If we want a QB to groom behind a free agent QB, it should be Tannehill. He has the biggest upside of all the QB’s after the top two. By the way, RGIII is not worth trading the entire draft!

  • RoeBlount

    @bill.stowers look man RG3 is better than Matt Moore has a higher ceiling, he’s more athletic and a better passer. He also knows how to win with very little talent around him. I watched him play, not just seeing highlights or going on hearsay. I saw with my eyes what this kid can do and what Matt Moore and Matt Moore DOESN’T HAVE IT!!!

  • RoeBlount

    @bill.stowers look man RG3 is bette than Matt Moore and has a higher ceilin he’s more athletic and a better passer. He also knows how to win with very little talent around him. I watched him play, not just seeing highlights or going on hearsay. I saw with my eyes what this kid can do and what Matt Moore can do, and Matt Moore DOESN’T HAVE IT!!!

  • RoeBlount

    @keb8880 @stevehoffart that’s the same logic that has the dolphins in this boat and stuck with Henne and with no good QB since Dan retired.

  • RoeBlount

    @gdlow I to say you make a good point but RG3 is a better QB than all those guys, his play and stats say so. Russell never should’ve never been picked in round 1 I knew that since he was in high school. Young and Sanchez are decent and Bradford is good. But it is not an exact science u mean look at guys that they said were not good that turned out to be good.

  • RoeBlount

    @gdlow @bill.stowers Moore is in his 5th year dude and he is a mid level QB “period”

  • Lespaul

    @RoeBlount @bill.stowers I completely agree. I too have seen RG3 play. I was at that game against Texas….he’s got a great sense for the game and Texas must have blitzed him on every play. He is extremely accurate even on the run..

  • bill.stowers

    @RoeBlount I don’t think matt moore has it either. But. If we can’t get Flynn then he maybe the best we can get FOR NOW. Even if we do get RG3 we would still probably start moore. RG3 may have it but he won’t be as effective while he’s a rookie. And if we don’t fix our O-Line then I’m worried he will end up like david carr. Just an empty shell of a QB whose taken so many hits he can’t do anything anymore.

  • keb8880

    @RoeBlount @stevehoffart How is that the same logic as before??? We are talking about Free Agent Manning or Flynn not Fiedler or Moore. If we get one of these guys, we should then draft Tannehill because he will benefit the most from sitting behind a star QB. As far as the draft, the only QB worth trading it all is Luck. I don’t see greatness in RGIII. If he fell to us , sure, but a Free agency QB and keeping our draft is more desirable.

  • gdlow

    @RoeBlount My point is simply this..It is a very inexact science to tell who is going to be the next great QB, and to give up the farm for one or to get an unproven free agent for a large amount of money against the cap is foolish. I have seen exactly one QB in the last 15 or so years that I thought was a “can’t miss”..that was Newton..We blindly assume there is not good QB’s below the top one or two. I say that right now Moore is better against the pro’s than any college QB, so draft a winner and groom him…If you went strictly on stats and his play to judge then Kellen Moore should be a top QB…Things do not always translate to the pro game on a one to one basis…

  • SNAFU

    Has everyone forgotten about our third QB? The guy that scored better in the QB competiotion than Andy Dalton…Pat Devlin…wonder what the new coaches think of him? Tall, great arm and accurate…comments?

  • bill.stowers

    @SNAFU amen. If you look at all of my comments including the one right below yours I’ve been saying the same exact thing about devlin. I think we are stupid not to keep him around.

  • gdlow

    @RoeBlount @bill.stowers How can you say that? RG has never played an NFL down…so you are doing nothing more than speculating..Well I will also speculate that if (after Moores 1st 3 games) that if the secondary could have stopped Tebow and the Cleveland QB, and the right side of the line could have pass blocked and the defense hadn’t laid down on the NE 2nd game, Moore instead of 6 and 3 would have been 9 and 0…Watch the games again…!!!

    • Brian Miller

      Fyi…Henne started those games

  • gdlow

    @SNAFU That was the problem with Sparano…wouldn’t try anything…and it got his A@@ fired

  • Lespaul

    @gdlow @RoeBlount @bill.stowers Seen both play and yes, Griffen hasn’t played a single NFL down, but with all things being equal….he would blow Moore away. Moore didn’t complete passes that he should have. It was the difference in several games…Dallas game for one.

  • SNAFU

    @bill.stowers I read most of the Dolphins info out there, and I find it interesting that no one on the staff talks about Devlin at all. Haven’t read anything about him since hiw short stint of play at the end of the year. I think that it is the old Parcells logic taught to Ireland. “Never show your cards”. I have a feeling that they are going to showcase that kid at some point either for trade bait or maybe he really is the real deal and do not want him poached if he lands back on the practice squad. I was really impressed watching his workouts and college games.

  • gdlow

    @Lespaul @RoeBlount @bill.stowers Are you sure that was the difference in the Dallas game…Seems like Moore was sacked about 4 times, got the lead and then Romo completed everything (against the worst secondary in the league) even while being hit…and they won the game in the last minute or so..I stand by my earlier comments…this doesn’t mean I don’t think we should draft a QB…just not giving up the farm to get an unproven…Go back to the Marino draft..how good were “all” of those QB’s taken ahead of him…couple?

  • bill.stowers

    @SNAFU ya I deffinately agree that could be a possibility. However I’m also worried that they won’t give him a shot aat all. When moore was banged up at the end of the season we should have put in devlin. Not a looser j.p. losman who can’t do anything.

  • gdlow

    @SNAFU Ah…they probably put Losman in because he was a 1st rd. “Franchise QB”…BTW…I agree with you

  • Lespaul

    @gdlow @RoeBlount @bill.stowers True enough, Moore ran for his life at times cuz the Oline sucked. That said, he made some horrible throws and had two opportunities to win the game but blew it. First on a second and 6 when he overthrew marshal on a sideline pass and Bess was wide open over the middle….I mean 40 yard TD open, but evidently Marhsal was to go to on that play. Now the one that almost had me missile the remote through the TV was the 3rd and 8 with Bess open on a slant, Moore with plenty of time and he threw the ball behind him. This was a winnable game and Moore had several chances to make plays, but didn’t do his part. To be fair though…the Oline and defense didn’t do theirs either.

  • Lespaul

    @gdlow @RoeBlount What I find interesting is all the love for Moore. The argument here is that no player like RGlll could possibly be better or compete with him. However the irony is that Cam Newton, who everyone panned as a ‘running QB’, took the same offense that Moore stunk up in Carolina and turned them into a scoring machine. Hell, even Steve Smith was quoted as saying ‘we finally have a quarterback…a real leader’. A rookie took a last place team and made them fun to watch. They get a defense next year and they could make the playoffs.

  • gdlow

    @Lespaul @RoeBlount No that is not the argument I am making…

    1…We do not have enough evidence that Flynn would be an upgrade over Moore…

    2..We do not know that RG3 would be worth giving up the farm for as college ball does not translate directly to Pro’s..Nor do we know if he could start right off…My guess is NO, but again I have know way of knowing,,,Neither does anyone else

    3..They said the same about Drew Brees in San Diego as you are saying about Moore and Carolina, besides wasn’t Clausen a number 1 pick?

    4..My “argument ” is simply…Start Moore, draft a good QB as early as possible while still having enough draft picks to fix the right side of the line and the 2ndary and a pass rusher…and not lose the salary cap on one player or all your draft picks…I am tired of this team rebuilding…Moores biggest issues are correctable with a good coach and a right side of the line…

  • stevehoffart

    @gdlow @Lespaul @RoeBlount Good argument! I’m not disagreeing, just curious if you believe that Matt Moore could throw for 450yds and 6 tds against the Lions in the Packers system? My two bits are that Flynn’s single game performance offers an upside that I just don’t think Moore has. I also think that this roster, with a few key upgrades, could easily be a playoff team. I just don’t believe that Moore is the guy, I’m tired of stop-gap solutions. Flynn gives us the best chance for right now!