Dolphins Set To Risk It All With QB

The Miami Dolphins are about to play Russian roulette with their QB search.  There is no safe bet, there is no savior, there is no right or wrong answer.  It’s a game where one bullet, maybe two are loaded in the chamber.  Will they hit gold or fire off another shot in a long line of failed attempts to replace Dan Marino?  Soon enough, that answer will be revealed and the scrutiny will begin.

After all these years it seems as though replacing Dan Marino has become more afterthought than anything else.  With all the QB’s that have stepped behind center in that time, it’s more about finding a solution than replacing a legend.  Do we really want to rehash those names?  Or their outcomes?  Let’s just say that when a one-season wonder in Chad Pennington, a six game winner in Matt Moore, and the memory of stability with Jay Fiedler tops your list of best QB’s since Marino, there is a problem.

Not to take anything away from those three individuals but they did not change the franchise.  Not like a Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers would have.

This year it will become more of a spectacle.  Why?  Simple, the Dolphins have made it clear from owner Stephen Ross to Jeff Ireland to WR Brandon Marshall that finding the solution for the future at the position is as important as anything else.  It will also provide new HC Joe Philbin the best chance at success.  With the NFL Combine scheduled later this month, teams have started the arduous task of breaking down film, lining up “want” lists, and doing the background checks.  All in the hopes of making the one move that will impact next seasons’ standings.

The Dolphins will not be the only team looking to upgrade or fix their QB situation.  Seattle, Washington, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Denver all are expected to look at the position both in free agency and the draft.  Six teams and very few candidates.

For Miami, the process is a sharp blade knife that all involved are walking on.  Each decision comes with it’s own consequences and each has it’s own risk.  While free agency may provide the best shot at finding a solution, the draft normally provides teams for their future.  The Dolphins haven’t drafted a first round QB since Marino and in the last four seasons have opted for second rounders Pat White and Chad Henne.  John Beck was taken in 2007 in the 2nd round and Dante Culpepper cost the Phins a second rounder as did A.J. Feely.  In other words, the 2nd round has not been kind to Miami’s hopes of a franchise signal caller.

Yet while it’s easy to realize that a first round QB is the better route to go, the reality is that the draft is the last option available to the team.  If they opt for the draft, they will have passed on free agents and if they don’t land the draft pick they want, they go into the season with the same situation as before.  Relying on Matt Moore who while showing decent progress is still too raw to figure as a future star.

Of course there is also the problem of compensation.  It won’t be easy to move up to the one or two slot if one or both become open.  Draft picks are valuable to a team who is trying to build into a playoff contender.  Robert Griffin, III will not be an overnight sensation in all likelihood so does two first round picks and more warrant that big of a jump?  Would three first rounders and more warrant a jump to number 1 for Andrew Luck?  The other issue is supply and demand.  If the Dolphins head into the draft without a QB from free agency, then the price to move up will go up.  Of course if they have a QB from FA, then they likely won’t need to move up at all.  No team is going to buy the argument that Matt Moore is the teams future.

So do you wait for the draft and keep your fingers crossed?  Or do you hit the FA market and secure your starter for the foreseeable future?  That option comes with it’s own edge.

Peyton Manning is the hot name.  Will he retire, will he be released, will he go back to the Colts?  Questions upon questions.  At the center of this is the one vital question that the Dolphins have to have answered.  Will Peyton Manning be able to play in 2012.  Indications now say that he won’t.  If even a small chance exists, given the nature of his injury, that he will not play, the Dolphins need to look in another direction or they will do nothing more than kill their cap space for the next few years and get no reward from doing so.

So the obvious choice of course is Matt Flynn.  He knows the Joe Philbin offense.  Joe Philbin knows him.  He had a record setting day against a very good Detroit Lion defense, and like Rodgers learned behind Brett Favre, Flynn has spent his career learning behind Aaron Rodgers.  It’s a no-brainer.  Yet there is always a but.  Matt Flynn is a relative unknown.  He has yet to feel the pressure of having to win a game or carrying a team on his shoulders to victory when the season and the game is on the line.

He will also be expensive.  Not Manning expensive but expensive nonetheless.  There is no guarantee that he will be the next Drew Brees anymore than RGIII will be the next Michael Vick or Aaron Rodgers.  As much as Peyton Manning is an unknown health issue, Flynn is an expensive gamble in his own right.  The issue here however is that either one of them would stand to make the Dolphins a better offensive unit…in theory.  As would Andrew Luck or RGIII.  In other words, despite the solid outings of Matt Moore, the Dolphins do not view him as the future.

That is where the problem lies.

Miami will compete against Washington, Seattle, Cleveland, and Denver for either Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn.  If Manning is deemed unhealthy or unlikely to play in 2012, it’s just Matt Flynn on the top table.  The second round of QB’s?  Guys like Kyle Orton and Vince Young.  Neither of whom offer much in the way of promise.  If the team opts to leave Manning and Flynn to someone else and head into the draft to find their next signal caller, they will do so with the risk of not getting who they want and settling for someone who will need more time and development.

Assuming that Cleveland does not land either Flynn or Manning, they are in the best position to trade up to the number 2 spot and land RGIII as they have two first round picks.  Seattle sits back a ways and actually is a team that is rumored to have high hopes of landing Flynn.  Denver is not likely to go QB in round 1 but could be a team on the radar for someone like Brandon Weeden or Ryan Tannehill.  That would leave Washington and Miami left to compete for RGIII.  All of this assuming that the Colts take Luck.

The point is simple.  The Dolphins need a QB and everyone knows it.  They know it.  So do five other teams.  Free agency has two possibles and the draft has two front end possibles and the list stops there.  Four teams will fill their vacancy and two teams will shoulder their team on their incumbents or draft a guy later or take a free agent plan B or C option.

For Jeff Ireland, his decision will have as much impact on Joe Philbin as any other choice he makes or they make together.  The question is which way do they take the risk?  Is there a safer option of those that are presented?  Do you double up one onto the other and hope you hit on player A, B, or both?  As free agency ticks towards a start this question above all others will hang over the team, it’s fans, and Jeff Ireland.

Topics: Matt Flynn, Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins, Peyton Manning, RGIII

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  • TA

    @Miami needs to sign a QB in free agency and draft a QB in the 2nd or 3rd round.With QB’s there’s no guarantees so your only choice is to have multiple options ! GO PHINS !

  • gdlow

    Flynn was a 7th rounder, with 2 starts in 4 years…I say pass and draft…

  • stevehoffart

    @gdlow The fact that he was picked in the 7th round should have no bearing on the decision. He was stuck behind JaMarcus Russell for three years and his stock drop was strange to say the least. Irrelevant through, you have to look at the fact that he worked with one of the game’s best QBs and best QB coaches for 4 years. Not to mention that Philbin knows how to make him succeed.

  • stevehoffart

    @TA@miami Agreed and the best one available on paper is Flynn. You have more to play backup in case he fails and a 2nd or 3rd on Tannehill, Weeden, or a flyer on a guy like Case Keenum gives us a far greater potential for success than we’ve had in a long time!

  • Mattpatrick5

    @stevehoffart @TA@miami I agree. Matt Flynn is the best option right now for the Dolphins in 2012. I have no doubt that he will be in Miami next year. However, what about Pat Devlin? Apparently, all of the scouts and folks who cover the team say he has a lot of “potential.” If we draft another QB in the 2nd or 3rd round, does that mean we are giving up on him? Back to the practice squad maybe?

  • stevehoffart

    @Mattpatrick5 @TA@miami That is a good point, it would be nice to see him develop some more and save the 2nd rounder for the O-Line or another pass rusher. I saw someone noted that when the season was closing out and they had promoted him from the PS they still handed the ball to JP Losman. I’m feeling like the management maybe doesn’t have faith, but now that Philbin is there we can at least hope that between him and Sherman that Devlin will be properly evaluated.

  • margaretten

    Does naming your kid Matt, increase his chances of becoming an NFL Quaterback?? Matt Moore, Matt Flynn, Matt Schaub, Matt Casell, Matt Leinart, Matt Ryan, Matt Hasselbeck and Matthew Stafford!!! It was fun having the Hanging Chads…I just dont want us to become the Door Matts!

  • stevehoffart

    @margaretten Nice! There are a few of those guys that would look wonderful in Phin colors!

  • Mattpatrick5

    @stevehoffart @margaretten Yeah, what a terrible name…bunch of losers!

  • TA

    I don’t think you can rely completely on the draft. Miami fans want instant gratification and rightly so. How long has it been ? All I’m saying is don’t put your QB’s all in one basket, use the draft,free agency and maybe the CFL (Cameron Wake).Moore is a back up he will never be elite. So for instance if you sign Flynn and he doesn’t produce you have a rookie to develop. You can’t just “turn over acorns” you have to gather them. If one fails you move on to the next and while working this process you have Moore as a back up.

  • rounbrown

    Go after Flynn and draft Tannehill 2nd round. First round pick use on Quinton Coples DE from NC.

    That gives Fins three OB’s with possiblities. Moore to fill the gap if nothing else works. Flynn to see if he can do the job and Tannehill to develop. Meets a need for a pass rusher in Coples. He is a beast. Third round on work on OL,

  • Cornerss

    “The Dolphins haven’t drafted a first round QB since Marino”

    Almost a talking point now. When you tell people chad henne and pat white were drafted closer to marino then marino was to elway,makes that point kind of moot.

  • Sol Invictus

    @rounbrown we can only hope they will be so sensible. This should be the best and smartest option. While QB is a dire need, selling the farm to get one does not help all the other areas of the team. Philbin knows Flynn.., Sherman knows Tannehill. If they are comfortable then it should be a no brainer.

  • gdlow

    @stevehoffart 7th round should have a bearing if he qualifies as a franchise QB (as he will likely be overpaid to be)..otherwise take someone in the 7th round. Flynn only watched the GB QB, and we have no clue about how much the coaches worked with him…Typically Backups get very little work…Further we don’t know anymore about Philbin than we did Sparano…and look how that worked out…

  • RoeBlount

    I say put Hartline in as a trade piece. With all that RG3 has done in college with not very much and his intelligence, up bringing, his humble team first attitude and his skills the team would be foolish not to go all in for RG3. He and Luck are the best options out there in the draft and let’s face it the Colts aren’t giving up Luck. The team shouldn’t waste time on any more 2nd tier or 3rd tier project players or another teams hand me downs. Let’s start fresh with the best! With what talent we already have if RG3 plays like he did at Baylor he will be successful and when he improves only better for us.

  • RoeBlount

    Tannehill is to raw and Moore isn’t good enough. Moore is a middle of the road QB at best. We have to much talent not be a play of team. Furthermore if Tannehill was such a good QB why was he playing wideouts instead of supplanting someone and taking a spot. Also if he was so good why did he share game time and snaps at the beginning of season? If your that good you don’t share nothing!

  • rounbrown

    @Sol Invictus I agree. OL is very deep in the draft and to hit on a decent OL in the 3-7 round is not that impossible. Truth be told I think Tannehill has the tools to make a very good NFL QB. But anytime you draft a non blue chipper (or often when you do … can we say Jamarcus Russell) your taking a chance. With this plan they have Moore at worst and that isnt as bad as everyone is making out. RGIII is gonna cost to much and Luck is going to Indy.

  • rounbrown

    @RoeBlount Hey Roe. Tannehill played wide out because as a freshman his coach (Mike Sherman) saw the athlete that he is and asked him to fill a need they had. He did quite well at that position. Have you seen him play QB? The guy has a rocket for an arm and he is very accurate. Good size, he runs and moves well. He is a smart team player. The reports say he has strong leadership abilities. Your right he is rough but that is why he will be available second round and why we want him sitting behind one of the Matts learning. If we get Flynn and he works out we find ourselves where the Packers are now and where San Diego was with Brees and Rivers. Two, maybe three, pretty good QB’s on our roster and we haven’t had that in a long time. Matt Moore by the way was the 10th ranked QB in the league this year. That is not middle of the road and he has an upside. He can still improve. No off-season, He came in after regular season started, new offense and still played pretty darn good football. He has potential. Of course that is what we are looking at with every QB we can get … potential. That is the hard part of this. O’ we yearn for the Marino years. All we needed then was a team to go with our QB!

  • RoeBlount

    @rounbrown Wussup man. Ok I see what you’re saying but think about this wouldn’t it make more since to have your QB athlete on the field. And Matt Moore has been in the league this was his 5th year and what did he do when the pressure was on, who did he beat.

  • RoeBlount

    If we were to give up two first round stay picks and one second and a third that would be liketrading Odrick, V. Carey, D. Thomas, and J. Jerry. I think a franchise QB is worth that. Also with work RG3 will get better, infinitely better.

    • Brian Miller

      Odrick was good value at his spot, Vernon Carey was not at his. I would trade Vernon Carey for RGIII but would not trade all of those guys you mentioned. To be honest, I wouldn’t trade up for RGIII at all unless it was a straight up first for first. I think the guy will NOT be a great NFL QB and will take a lot of development. I would hang my chances on Flynn and Tannehill over RGIII.

  • willie beamen

    Bringing is Matt Flynn at the inflated price would be crazy . Chasing backups who were allowed to pad there stats on loaded tuned offensive machines is unnecessary reach at this point .

    I see this as even a worse situation than the Chiefs allowing there new gm from NE to bring in NE backup to be starter and paying a kings ransom for him because he knew him. Like Cassel Flynn had the pleasure of taking over the finely tuned engine of a loaded seasoned SB offense.

    Now they are there trying to figure out how to re-sign the guy we almost traded for in Orton because Cassel is who most thought he was …a good backup who got the pleasure of running a rare well oiled machine

    At this point I think the options should be

    Peyton if healthy

    RG3

    Orton and we take a late QB this year or try and move into position for one next year

  • Phinphanatic

    @willie beamen Funny you would rather have Orton who wants more than 5 mill a year and has been a failure at three stops…lol

  • Dennismcmh

    It doesn’t matter what quarterback, coach or any other position they bring into the Dolphins as long as Jeff Ireland keeps such a tight hold on the reigns. He needs to give more power to the coach to make decisions. The coach is on the field, at the practices, he knows what the team needs more than anyone in the organization. Jeff Ireland needs to realize that he is not God, like he thinks he is. Look how many coaches have been brought in that have produced championships with all the teams that they have been with in the past. Look at the amount of talent that the Dolphins have right now on that team. They still struggle every year to produce a winning team. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the problem isn’t on the field. It’s in the upper ranks…..namely Jeff Ireland. I am not saying to get rid of him. I am saying that he needs to let the coaches do their job and keep his nose on his face and out of the decisions that the coaching staff should be well equipped to do. The Dolphin organization has wasted some good coaches and players by the way the team is being managed by Ireland. WAKE UP OWNERS and see what the root of the problem is.

  • TA

    @willie beamen So your not a fan of “backups” ? Didn’t Aaron Rodgers carry a clip board in Green Bay ? I’m pretty sure Tom Brady carried one in New England. Now this may be below the belt but Earl Morall led Miami through most of our 17-0 season. Philbin will have a pretty good idea if Flynn is for real. His job depends on it. Peyton I hear has been cleared to play. I wouldn’t have a problem with Miami going after him but I do have concerns. His age, health, can he come back from a hit and the cost. If we were to get Peyton we would only delay the inevitable. We need a franchise QB for the future. RGIII is cost prohibitive ! The draft picks and players we would need to give up would set us back years.

  • Phinphanatic

    @Dennismcmh Wasted good coaches and players under irelans? Can you tell us who exactly? 2nd, all GMs maintain control over the rosters in the NFL. FYI

  • PAdolphan

    Miami should not trade up. People might laugh at me but i think Jason Camble wouldn’t be a bad option. Think he is alot better qb then people think jist never had a good wr, or a team that believed in him. Plus if we get another pro bowl OL in draft he wouldnt be running for his life like he always had too. Just curious what yall think. First time blogger.

  • PAdolphan

    Plus miami draft a speedy wr. Think camble and moore competing would b good i think campble would win the job. Plus we could get him extremely cheap so we could spend some money on r many other needs. Deff think this would make us instant contender next year. Without selling the farm for flynn or RGIII. What yall think

  • rounbrown

    @RoeBlount I here what your saying. Main problem with your idea is that RGIII is going to take at least 2 maybe 3 first rounders

    and at least one 2nd. IF he is not the next Cam Newton we are screwed for years. I guess I beleive in quantity of quality vs putting everything on one guy who we really don’t know is the man. If we could get RGIII for a 1 and 2 draft pick this year and say Brandon Marshall. I would think that a possibility but I don’t think selling the draft for the next two years or more is smart. The really good teams in NFL have built through the draft and smart FA.

  • Lespaul

    @RoeBlount@rounbrown Tannehill isn’t accurate. the stats don’t really show all the completions to check-downs. that said, he does have the biggest arm in the draft. The kid can heave the ball. He’s only started 20 games and played horribly when the game was on the line. Notably, the game against Arkansas where he completely fell apart in the second half. First half it looked like he was going to throw for a 1000 yards. I think he can develop, but it might take lot-o-time and Miami wants a guy who can start…today!

  • Lespaul

    @PAdolphan Oooo, Campbell?? I don’t know, he can throw the ball, but for some reason his leading receivers seem to be the opposing teams defensive backs. I think he was ruined up there in Washington, cuz he had allot of upside coming out of college.

  • willie beamen

    @Phinphanatic @Willie

    Define failure ?

    Orton was 21-12 with the Bears with game manger numbers but a good -great defense over his time there

    Went to Denver and drastically improved individually in 2010 he had 3600 yards and 20 tds in 13 games BUT he had the worst defense in the league giving up 30 ppg during his time there

    I dont consider it a coincidence that he went to KC who had a good to great defense and immediately got to winning and if not for two blocked kicks by the Raiders wouldve helped KC win the division and make it to the playoffs .

    I think if we had grabbed Orton from the start we couldve taken the wildcard and challenged NE for the division. If we had gotten Orton I dont think we start 0-7 at all.

  • willie beamen

    @TA Rogers was a first rd QB drafted to replace Favre he wasnt a perennial backup .

    Tom Brady wasa 7th rd pick who started because of an injury and then went on to win the SB .

    Please tell me how does Flynn playing well against the Lions have anything to do with those situations ?

    IF RG3 is a Franchise QB how could getting him set us back years ?

    I agree we need to find a franchise QB but there is absolutely no reason to reach in this situation especially when we are bringing in a first time coach .

    As I said before we should be looking at tape of all available qbs and then making a decision not simply choosing Flynn because Philbin knows him .

  • TA
  • TA

    @willie beamen “IF RG3 is a Franchise QB how could getting him set us back years”http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2011/04/nfl_draft_10_best_and_worst_of_6.html

  • Mattpatrick5

    @Lespaul@PAdolphan You are right. Campbell is a dented can of corn, mainly caused by his surroundings and atmosphere while with the Redskins. In my opinion, Matt Moore is better and getting Campbell is definitely not an upgrade. He is not even an option right now for Ireland and Philbin.

  • http://www.sportmentary.com Sportmentary

    As much as I like Peyton, he’s not the answer. Even if he’s healthy, how many quality years does he have left? Maybe 3. The Dolphins need think about the future and not a band aid solution to the QB position!

  • Volsdolphin

    There is no guarantee that Matt Flynn will be the answer. I realize it is easy to think that this would work and be what gets the Dolphins to the Super Bowl and win it. Maybe it would. But, there are no guarantees that Matt Flynn is the answer. Yes, Peyton Manning is a bigger risk than Flynn. I am not a Manning fan and I realize many people don’t understand that. So be it. I choose not to be like everyone else. He would put people in the seats, if he continues to play. I think if he is cleared by the Dolphins doctors to play, knowing the risks involved, then that is up to management and their wallets. I am no expert, but why not get Manning even if it is for a year or 2, and work to bring in Matt Flynn as well. If the Owners have money use it. I still think getting WR Blackmon would help solidify the WR positions. If you want Brandon Marshall gone, then you have to have WR’s to throw the ball too. Yes, there are needs in other areas. I am going with the offense right now. Why not bring back Wes Welker? He is a FA and I can see the Patriots losing players. They have a lot of FA. This loss in the SB hurt them and I can see some will move on. I do think if the Pats would have won, Welker would remain a Pat and he still might. But since they lost, I see some confusion with this team. Miami should have never let Welker go, but they did. Bring him back if the money is there and if he will come back to Miami. I do not know what the cap is in football for this coming year. I am going by my own thoughts if this could be done.

    If this could be done, then this is what I would like to see:

    1. Peyton Manning

    2. Matt Flynn

    3. Wes Welker

    4. WR-Blackmon in the draft

    Matt Flynn may not want to be behind Manning or Manning may not want to be behind Flynn. Yes, I would let Henne go. Trade Matt Moore. If he is as good as I am hearing here and you bring in Flynn, then Moore is not going to play second fiddle for the rest of his career.

    These are just my thoughts.

  • Volsdolphin

    And no, I don’t Manning is going to command the national debt. I am not an expert on finances that these 2 QB’s would want. If Flynn is that good, he needs to show it in more than just a game or 2.