Have patience Dolphins fans, the time for talk and speculation is about to come to an end. For almost 2 months we’ve heard ‘expert’ after ‘expert’ give their opinion on which quarterback the Dolphins will chase this offseason. First, when Joe Philbin was named Dolphins head coach, the immediate reaction was that the Dolphins would target Matt Flynn, the Green Bay backup. Then, the Manning to Miami movement started and fans started to warm up to the thought of Peyton Manning wearing aqua and orange. Most recently, Dolphins fans have fallen in love with Robert Griffin III. These are certainly not the only 3 QB options for the Dolphins, but they are the 3 that are most likely.
Each of the 3 quarterbacks mentioned above come at a cost and with a risk. Matt Flynn could cost his next team a sizeable contract and possibly draft pick compensation (2nd rounder?) if the Packers apply the Franchise Tag to him. Flynn has started only 2 NFL games and has looked good, but the sample size is small and he is inexperienced. Peyton Manning will only cost money, but he’s not 100% healthy and may never be again. Reports indicate that he’s further along in his recovery than some have let on, but if the Dolphins want to sign him, they’ll have to do it before they know for sure that he’ll be the Peyton of old. RG3 would cost the Dolphins as much as 2 first round picks, a second round pick, and possibly more. RG3 has amazing talents, but is unproven and inexperienced at the NFL level.
So Jeff Ireland has some tough decisions to make. Complicating matters is the fact that each of the QBs will become available at different times. Peyton Manning will likely be cut before March 8th by the Colts, allowing the Dolphins or any team to immediately bid for his services. Matt Flynn will become a free agent (if no franchise tag is applied) on March 13th at 4pm. RG3′s timeline is a bit more tricky. His rights will be awarded to the team that trades with the Rams for the #2 pick in the draft. That could happen tomorrow, or it could happen the night of the Draft. Many believe that the Rams will trade the pick before March 13th so that the maximum number of suitors for RG3 are still in play. Why? Because after March 13th, QB-needy teams will be signing QBs (Flynn, Manning, etc.) and will reduce the number of trade partners for the Rams.
The Latest: Whether it’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN, Peter King of SI.com, or Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star, is that the Dolphins are the favorites to land Peyton Manning. John Clayton of ESPN said yesterday that he believes the only 2 teams ‘seriously’ in the running for RG3 are the Browns and Redskins. Clayton also said the Dolphins will end up with either Flynn or Manning, noting Flynn would not receive the Franchise Tag from the Packers. Albert Breer of the NFL Network suggested that if the Dolphins were to sign Peyton Manning, they could also look to draft a QB (Tannehill).
Our Take: We think Albert Breer has the right idea, suggesting that if the Dolphins sign Manning, they should draft a QB as well. However, we disagree with Breer that the Dolphins should use the #8 pick on Ryan Tannehill. If the Dolphins sign Peyton, they should improve the team and draft an impact player at #8, whether it’s Courtney Upshaw, Quinton Coples, or another beastly pass rushing DE. What about right tackle you ask? That hole can be filled through free agency, freeing up the Dolphins to pick that impact player at #8. THEN, you can look at drafting a QB of the future in rounds 2-4. Whether it’s Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler, Nick Foles, etc. That young QB would have the benefit of sitting behind and learning from a Hall of Fame player. If the Dolphins chose to go the Manning route, they’d be well served by backing up their investment by drafting a young QB.