I know we talked a lot about it already. But I think this topic deserves more attention. Why? Because it's a very interesting situation.
In just one full season as the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins, Chad Pennington became one of the most popular Dolphins in a long time. It was odd, almost surreal, how Pennington went from hated rival to beloved leader. And make no mistake about it, all of the love CP received from Dolphin fans - including from myself - was very well deserved. He played a very large part in the amazing turnaround from the one-win '07 Dolphins to the AFC East Champion '08 Dolphins.
But Pennington struggled in three starts in 2009 before suffering yet another shoulder injury that ended his season. He averaged just 5.6 yards per pass attempt - his worst figure as a starting quarterback - and threw just one touchdown pass while committing four turnovers (two interceptions and two lost fumbles).
And that's where we stand right now. Pennington's contract with the Dolphins expires in early March. But CP has been working out at the Dolphins' facility in Davie and has even been working on his footwork with QB coach David Lee. Pennington also made it a point to say that he would be willing to return to Miami - even as a backup:
"I think what I have to decide is, competitively, do I want to go try and compete for a starting job or do I want to be in a place where I enjoy working with the people and working with my teammates and my family's comfortable and I know there’s value there and I know there’s a spot for me to lead and to serve and do what I need to do if that’s in a backup role."
"That’s where I am right now. Sometimes I wake up and I’m like, 'Wherever the starting opportunity is that’s where I want to go,' and sometimes I wake up and go, 'You know what, it's what best for me and my family and it’s where I enjoy going to work and enjoy the opportunity."
"This is 10 years for me. It’s not going to last very much longer and I want to enjoy every day of it. I want to be in a place where I know we have a chance to win and I know I can contribute and be of value. I think that's important. I think all of us want to be valued wherever we work."
So should the Dolphins bring back CP10? That's what I want to know from all of you. Read some of the pros and cons to re-signing Pennington - which are below - and then cast your vote in our poll.
The case for bringing back Pennington
- He's been a great role model for Chad Henne and would continue to be an asset to our young quarterback. He's shown Henne by example how a professional starting quarterback should act - both on and off the field. Even after going down with his season-ending injury, Pennington worked with Henne weekly - helping break down game film. A mentor with that kind of leadership is invaluable to the growth of a young starting quarterback.
- Regardless of your feelings on Pat White or Tyler Thigpen, Pennington's return to Miami would instantly make him the top backup on the roster. He'd be a great insurance policy in the event that the unspeakable were to happen and Henne was to go down for any length of time.
The case against re-signing Pennington
- The Dolphins can't carry four quarterbacks. That means Miami would have to either give up on the Pat White experiment and cut their 2009 2nd round pick or cut Tyler Thigpen, who Miami surrendered a fifth round pick to get and who has shown promise as a potential long-term back-up quarterback. The Dolphins reportedly are very high on Thigpen, too. Some might think the solution would be to keep all four players and move White to receiver. But even so, he'd take a roster spot away from somebody who might be a better fit.
- The Dolphins would risk a quarterback controversy if Henne struggled early on and Pennington played well in camp and in the preseason. Do we need to add any more pressure to our young signal caller?
- Henne needs to become a leader of this football team. Would he be able to do that with a guy like Pennington waiting right behind him?
- The Dolphins would be spending unnecessary money on a backup quarterback when the team already has three QBs on the roster. And there's no guarantee Pennington's shoulder will even hold up. He had a weak arm to begin with and it has now gone through yet another surgery.