Dolphins QB Search -- No "Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back"

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One current rage in the media and blogosphere is to draft a QB in the first round – at all costs.  The reason this route has been deemed “the solution” for the Dolphins is because Dan Marino was selected in the first round (1983) and he was successful.  Beck and Henne were selected in the second round and they were unsuccessful.  However, it is important to point out there are no guarantees with selecting a QB in the first round – no magic formula.  Tim Couch and JaMarcus Russell are two failures that come to mind – both were even picked first in the NFL Draft (Cleveland [1999] and Oakland [2007], respectively).

In 2012, there are only two QBs in the draft that most scouts believe are franchise QBs – Andrew Luck (Stanford) and Robert Griffin III (Baylor).  They will likely go 1st and 2nd in the draft.  Without any guarantees, it will be costly for the Dolphins to move up to get one of these two players.  According to the NFL Draft Trade Value Chart, the Dolphins 8th pick (if they win the coin toss with Carolina) has a value of 1,400.  The second pick in the draft has a value of 2,600.  To give you an idea of how big of a move up this is, all of the Dolphins picks in the 2012 Draft do NOT total a value of 2,600.  So, is one prospective player worth giving up eight prospective players?  Here is the kicker … it is actually possible that one of the eight prospects you give up could be a franchise QB and the one you get is not.  There are no formulas for picking QBs in the NFL Draft.

Another rage is going the free agent route and picking up Peyton Manning.  Manning will be expensive and he will likely cost the Dolphins 15% of their salary cap.  It is not like Stephen Ross can just open up his wallet, it will cost the team and its overall make-up.  Manning is coming off neck surgery with no guarantee he will return to his Pro Bowl form, if he returns at all.  If he does, he will only be a short term solution – likely two or three years – then, the problem will return.  Think about it, would you have picked up in 2000 a free agent Dan Marino who was 38 years old and had already played 17 seasons?  Peyton Manning is 36 years old and has played 14 seasons.  How long will he last?

Another rage is going the free agent route and picking up the latest hot commodity by the name of Matt Flynn.  Flynn will not be as expensive as Manning, but he will likely cost the Dolphins 5% of their salary cap – 5% for the next four or five years – which will have an impact on the team make-up.  Flynn has only played in two full NFL regular season games – they were extremely successful.  But, there are still no guarantees that he will perform similarly over an entire season.  It is worth keeping in mind that Matt Moore, current Dolphins QB, had a streak of successful games early in his career and then succumbed to a full NFL season where teams were prepared for his style of play.  Also, I think I remember that A.J. Feeley came with a similar resume as Flynn having a few great games for the Eagles – then, he became a bust for the Dolphins.

There are still other prognostications to solve Dolphins QB problems.  I even read a blog recently that suggested that the Dolphins acquire free agent retread Jason Campbell.  Campbell was a first round pick of the Washington Redskins in 2005.  He was traded five years later (because of his up and down performance) to the Oakland Raiders for a mere fourth round pick – a first round pick that only got fourth round compensation five years later.  His QB rating in 2010 and 2011 was slightly more than 84 – to put that into perspective, Matt Moore just posted a QB rating of 87.1 in 2011.  Campbell only played the first 6 games of the 2011 because of a season ending injury.

Some even believe that Pat Devlin, selected by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2011, may be a possible long term solution. Devlin was projected to be a fourth round draft pick in 2011 out of Delaware – the same school that produced the Ravens’ Joe Flacco.  Given a year under the tutelage of Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman and a full pre-season of OTAs and a training camp, who knows what he could do?

Finally, there is the option of the status quo – Matt Moore.  Moore had a pretty good season for the Dolphins in 2011 with a final ranking of 12th in the NFL in QB rating.  He also could benefit under the tutelage of Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman and a full pre-season of OTAs.  One just never knows.

There seems to be many options at QB for the Dolphins this off-season.  Jeff Ireland truly has a very difficult job in the next two and a half months making a decision on who will be next to lead the Miami Dolphins.   One thing that seems certain is there are no solutions which come with a satisfaction guaranteed or your money back — just a lot of sleepless nights, headaches, and risks which could result in unemployment.  At least, one has to be sympathetic to the position he is in.  Many General Managers in the NFL have come before him on various teams and failed.


What do you think?


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