The Miami Dolphins will have to find a quarterback this off-season but where they find one is as important as where they don’t. Free agency could provide a veteran to sit behind Tua Tagovailoa or they may go with a rookie in the draft.
Free agency will provide some options as will the draft but do the Dolphins view one of their own as a likely option? That is a question only they can answer. First, we have to ask what kind of quarterback they need behind Tua Tagovailoa?
Miami has to ask that question and answer it. A veteran that can come in and win if Tua gets hurt, a back-up that isn’t going to push Tua, or a QB to groom for the future. Miami has to be at least a little worried about Tua’s health situation. Not necessarily the hip but if Tua gets hurt and misses any considerable time, do the Dolphins have a capable player on the roster to lead them? I don’t think so.
We will start with the current QBs on the roster.
Jake Rudock is currently on the roster but it is unclear what the Dolphins view him as. Is he the 3rd emergency quarterback or are they grooming him for more?
Reid Sinnett has a lot of promise but he is definitely more of a project right now. The Dolphins will keep around for the off-season and likely add him to the practice squad.
Ryan Fitzpatrick makes a lot of sense to re-sign but at the same time, his rejoining the Dolphins could put the coaching staff in a position they went through last year, pulling Tua for Fitzpatrick. At some point, you have to let Tua play and fail or succeed. The coddling days are over.
Fitzpatrick wants a chance to play so that may take Miami out of his plans as well. The impending free agent may wait it out for injuries across the NFL to sign another contract.
Free agency will be the Dolphins’ first chance to add a veteran quarterback but the question will be who? Barring a big trade for someone like Deshaun Watson, the Dolphins are not going to be in on any major deals across the NFL and like Fitzpatrick, a brand name back-up who has starting experience may not ideal if that QB wants closer to starter money.
What Miami really needs, ideally, is a Matt Moore or Chad Henne type player. Long time veterans with a lot of experience that provide support for Tua and enough competition to push him.
Jacoby Brissett offers the experience and veteran leadership that will help Tua grow but he isn’t the only one. Tyrod Taylor has been around and can do the same thing. Both are quality options depending on what they want to get paid.
Further down the free agency trough, Andy Dalton, Blake Bortles, and Blaine Gabbert are all options but these are guys you would want for only a game maybe two should Tua go down. They are options that would work as a bridge until Sinnett or Rudock can develop more.
Miami is not going to draft a quarterback at the top of the draft but the mid-rounds could offer some nice options if they want to add a young QB to develop. In my opinion, that would Rudock or Sinnett but if the Dolphins like a guy they fee better about then why not?
Ian Book is a player Miami got familiar with at the Senior Bowl but he may go a lot higher than the Dolphins would like to draft. Book has a lot of upside and could develop as a solid back-up for the Dolphins and maybe a player that the Dolphins could trade in the future if he shows a lot of potential. The Notre Dame product may find himself drafted in round three or four. Miami won’t likely look to a QB until rounds 5 or 6.
Texas QB Sam Ehlinger is another mid-round option but again, I don’t see the Dolphins spending a draft pick earlier than 6 or 7 and I don’t think Ehlinger will be there.
Where to find the QB:
Miami’s best bet is to look at free agency to find an older veteran who can help Tua but won’t pose the same problems that Fitzpatrick did last year. If the Dolphins and Fitzpatrick do not feel last year was a problem in terms of switching them around, then he should also be an option.