That is the present lineup of relevant starting QB choices and we should also note that Chad Henne is now one of 11 players that the Dolphins have slated to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13. The full list of them, courtesy of Mac’s Football Blog reads this way.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents (2):
TE Jeron Matrud
LB Austin Spitler
Restricted Free Agents (4):
RB Lex Hilliard, OT Lydon Murtha, DE Ryan Baker, DE Philip Merling
Unrestricted Free Agents (11):
QB Chad Henne, QB J.P. Losman, RB Steve Slaton, OT Vernon Carey, OT Marc Columbo, DE Kendall Langford, NT Paul Soliai, LB Ikaika Alama-Francis, LB Marvin Mitchell, LB Jason Taylor (Retired), CB Will Allen.
This means that Jeff Ireland & Co. not only will finally have to solve the QB situation for-real but must also deal with the normal business and the upcoming NFL Draft which should also provide solutions and resources.
The NFL Draft this year will start on Thursday, April 26th at 8pm, ET and continue on Friday night and again on Saturday at noon. There will be a coin flip to determine the draft position of the Miami Dolphins and the Carolina Panthers, who both tied for the 8th spot in the order. I do not believe the impact of the flip will be significant because I believe the Dolphins will not seek to use their first pick to draft a QB and the value between #8 and #9 spot on the list is relatively close.
Ireland made clear his position on Chad Henne in a recent interview with the Sun-Sentinel stating basically that he did well in Miami but did not achieve enough wins during his tenure. So I think we can conclude the Dolphins will not be the high-bidder for his services despite his arm strength, improved attitude and performance last season until his injury and the fact that he could develop and become a fine QB in the NFL given he is still early in his career. I realize some of you do not believe he will ever reach the top level of performance in the league but I’m just stating that there is nevertheless a possibility that he could.
The argument concerning Peyton Manning is primarily that he is older and his physical condition is going to be questionable. Remember that he has reported lessened arm strength and even some numbness in his throwing arm. And acquiring him this off-season will require money and a commitment to build the offense around him so that he becomes functional with minimum delay. That is not a long-term solution but might work for a couple 2-3 years.
We know now that the Dolphins should have about $15 million of Salary Cap money to spend on signing rookies and free agents this year and speculation has been that about $5 million would be used to sign rookies. This leaves plenty of money to go acquire a solid starting QB and a few other players. Ireland created this amount of cap space by not spending $9 million last year, by the way.
Matt Flynn is young (born June 20, 1985), strong and has been groomed since being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in Round #7 of the 2008 NFL Draft to be a potential starting QB. He is 6′ 2″ and 225 lbs and was born in Tyler, Texas.
As a Senior at Robert E. Lee High School he completed 124 of 206 passes for 1,679 yards and 9 touchdowns in addition to 305 yards rushing with 12 more touchdowns. He then attended LSU where, in his senior year he started every game except the SEC Championship in which he was injured. On January 7, 2008 he led LSU to the BCS National Championship and beat Ohio State 38-24 and was named Offensive MVP of the Game. The LSU Tigers were ranked undisputed #1 in the polls. In his career at LSU, Flynn amassed statistics of 245 completions on 437 attempts (56.1%) and 3096 yards passing for 31 passing TD’s with just 13 interceptions. His passer rating was 133.0. Notable is that he attempted 100 rushes in his senior year at LSU and scored 5 TD’s including a receiving TD from a 35-yard pass.
Recently, on January 1 2012 Flynn started in place of Aaron Rodgers after the team had already secured the #1 seed in the NFL playoffs. Against the Detroit Lions he threw for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns in a 45-41 victory, both of which have set all-time Green Bay Packers records.
Flynn would be perfect for installing the new offense in Miami under his former OC and new Dolphins’ HC Joe Philbin and new Dolphins OC Mike Sherman . Obviously they have close ties as Philbin was in Green Bay for 9 years and has worked with him during his entire career thus far.
Going into his 5th year in the NFL and coming from a top-tier organization with very stable coaching and an excellent record, why would the Dolphins not bust down the doors to acquire him? Here is someone to build the team around as you would build a ring around a crown diamond in a setting.
Examining the situation further, the Dolphins could completely resolve the QB situation with Flynn and then be able to focus on upgrading every other needed position such as at OT and so forth. Plus, there will be a full off-season and training camp to really settle things in well and groove-in the receivers. Perhaps even acquire or develop a real deep threat.
It is my belief that he is going to be a franchise QB wherever he goes, barring injury. And he would be an ideal fit in Miami with good weather and a fan base that is anxious to cheer again for a winner.