While it was a bit of a twist-and-turmoil season with a few bright spots for the Miami Dolphins, a few thousand miles away the Packers are building a dynasty. I'm from South Florida, but my Dad's entire family is from Wisconsin, all Packers fans, so I inherited a bit of that. I can say I'm leaning a bit towards the Packers right now because of their better situation (15-1, top seed in the playoffs, reigning SB Champs), but I'm staying true to the Dolphins.
The main difference between the Dolphins and the Packers right now is their Quarterbacks. Not to say the teams are identical elsewhere, but what sets them apart is the fact that the Packers are led by one of the best QBs ever, and the Dolphins are led by a steady QB who does some good things, but is nothing more than an average starter.
The Dolphins don't necessarily have to upgrade at the Quarterback position this offseason...Matt Moore has looked good this season, and presumably could still make strides to become a better QB (he's only 27 years old and has less than 30 starts under his belt), but he's not likely to all of a sudden bloom into an elite Quarterback.
The Dolphins are going to have to make some decisions this offseason. They are going to have to decide what to do about their QB situation. There are 3 main directions they could go:
1. Stick with Moore
2. Sign a Free Agent (Likely Matt Flynn, Brees unlikely)
3. Draft a Quarterback (Griffin III, Jones, Tannehill)
1. Sticking With Matt Moore
After Chad Henne went down with a season-ending injury, it was debated whether the Dolphins should start newly-aqcuired Matt Moore, sign a FA like David Garrard, or possibly even go to the Undrafted rookie Pat Devlin. While there was some debate, all of the logic seemed to point towards Matt Moore.
It was a bit of an up-and-down 12 starts for Moore, but there were certainly more ups. He threw for 16 TDs and 9 INTs with a 87 Passer rating, and led the team to a 6-6 record, a fine turnaround after starting the season 0-4 under Chad Henne.
Is Moore An Option As The Starter Next Season?
He absolutely is an option. Moore had a pretty good season, but at times left alot to be desired. Only in short spurts did he look like a real franchise QB that could seriously lead a team to the Super Bowl. Other times he looked simply average, making regular throws that most QBs could, and throwing a few too many INTs. In an era where it appears that you win games with a top-tier QB throwing for 250+ yards per game (Packers, Saints, Patriots, Giants), is Matt Moore good enough to lead the Phins to a SB?
It is logical to think that Moore could maybe make big improvements from this season to the next. He's only 27 and has less than 30 career starts. He could have some potential that hasn't been tapped into just yet. But beware...The Panthers thought they had their franchise QB in Matt Moore, after a similar situation to the one in Miami. Moore became the starter mid-season and was impressive, throwing 8 TDs vs only 2 INTs with a 98.5 rating. The next season, Moore laid an egg, tossing 5 TD vs 10 INTs and losing his job to a rookie, Jimmy Clausen.
Nobody knows if Moore will be better next season, or regress like he did in Carolina, but my guess would be that he makes small, minor strides in his game that won't appear significant but will show up at certain times of games.
2. Signing a Free Agent Quarterback
Signing a free agent is always an option. There are always free agents looking for a home. The issue is that most of the time they aren't that talented and lack upside. Let's look at some key free agents for this offseason at QB. (NOTE: This isn't the entire list, some awful/old/both QBs who are not options in any case were deleted).
-Drew Brees (NO)
-Matt Flynn (GB)
-Alex Smith (SF)
-Kyle Orton (KC)
-Jason Campbell (OAK)
Donovan McNabb (MIN)
Derek Anderson (CAR)
Shaun Hill (DET)
Drew Stanton (DET)
Brady Quinn (DEN)
David Garrard (FA)
Chad Henne (MIA)
David Carr (NYG)
Vince Young (PHI)
Dennis Dixon (PIT)
Charlie Whitehurst (SEA)
Josh Johnson (TB)
Rex Grossman (WAS)
Brian Hoyer (NE) - Restricted
Drew Brees is obviously the guy every diehard Dolphins fan dreams about bringing in to Miami, but it's not really realistic. He loves New Orleans, he won a ring there and could win another this season. He enjoys throwing 30-35 times per game to some great receivers in a dome. And he's probably still a bit sour that the Phins chose Daunte Culpepper over him (Not gonna lie I was in slightly favor of getting Culpepper at the time).
Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, and Kyle Orton are all decent FAs, but to me none of them really present an upgrade over Matt Moore. Those are only guys to bring in for competition for Moore, but chances are Smith is staying out West and Orton is staying in KC. Most of the other guys on that list are mediocre QBs, who wouldn't even present much competition to Moore.
Chad Henne isn't coming back, and I don't think he would be sought back in Miami. He had his chance, he might get another chance elsewhere to start.
And then there's Matt Flynn. As a Packers fan, I can tell you alot about the 26-year old backup. He's been in Green Bay all of his career, and has been a great backup. He's appeared in numerous preseason games, where he has performed extremely well, which excited Packers fans. But we really got a taste of how good Flynn was when he took over for a concussed Rodgers against the New England Patriots in Foxborough. It was a big stage, and Flynn delivered with a 251 yards, 3 TD performance in which the Packers just fell short. Flynn also threw an INT and lost a fumble, but all-in-all a great outing for a backup QB on a big stage. That offseason, it was discussed whether Flynn should be traded for a 2nd or 1st round pick. He wasn't traded despite the fact that he was almost certain to leave in free agency a year later.
Matt Flynn enjoyed a record-setting performance last week vs the Lions. He'll be looking for a starting job.
He's still in Green Bay, and recently caused rave around the league with a record setting performance against the Lions, while star Aaron Rodgers rested for the playoffs. If you haven't seen his statline yet, then behold:
31-of-44, 71% comp. 480 yards. 6 Touchdowns. 136.4 Rating. 1 INT, 1 FumL.
Yes, you read it right. A backup Quarterback set franchise records for the Packers, a franchise that has gone through Bart Star, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers, among others. 480 yards and 6 TDs against a good Lions defense. That was an amazing performance, but it was only 1 game, right? Actually, 2 games, but still, it's a bit sketchy. I'm completely sold that Flynn can be a starter in the NFL. But I'm not sold that he could be a Top 10 QB. But he's a free agent, and unless the Packers franchise tag him (it's unlikely they'll do that) then he's fair game to sign.
3. Draft A Quarterback
First of all, if the Dolphins draft another QB in the 3rd round my head will explode. 3rd round QBs don't work, they're just average. Matt Schaub is average, or slightly above. If the Dolphins are to draft a QB this year, it should be in the 1st round, or maybe in the 2nd as long as it's Landry Jones of Oklahoma or Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M (I wouldn't cry if it was Nick Foles either). But the one guy Ireland should be eyeing, it's Robert Griffin III. He's the best prospect outside of Andrew Luck. The Rams could be looking for a trading partner, the Dolphins could trade up for Griffin. The Rams would probably want something like: The Phins' #9 pick, 2nd round pick, 5th rd pick, and 2013 1st rd pick, in return, and probably a decent defensive player as well (they need help everywhere except DE). That's a hefty price. A better option might be to stay at #9, and take Ryan Tannehill or Landry Jones.
Tannehill and Jones are both a step below Griffin as prospects, but both have the potential to shine in the NFL. Jones actually could return to OU, so he might not be in the conversation. They could be had in the 1st round with having to trade up. The Dolphins could even trade down and still get one of them, and there's a chance they're both available in the 2nd round.
Nick Foles is an outside option, he would be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. But after Foles, not a single other QB should even be an option. They all have too many holes and not even pure talent to ever become stars in this league.
Andrew Luck is still an option, folks. Nobody knows what the Colts want to do. They might want to trade down. Sadly, though, the price for getting Luck will be even a little higher than the price for Griffin III.
A Mix Of 1 And 3
This is very simple, sticking with Matt Moore for next season, but drafting a QB to wait and develop for 1-2 seasons under him. This would be an option for any of the QBs, except for Luck or maybe Griffin. Luck is ready to start right now, and could probably play close to Pro Bowl level. Griffin's first season could be similar to Cam Newton's where he does alot of damage with his legs while he continues to learn the finer points of throwing from the pocket.
Tannehill and Jones could potentially be Blaine Gabbert-esque disaster if they were forced to start right away, and it wouldn't benefit them by struggling game after game, so this would be the best option if the Phins drafted Tannehill or Jones (or Foles).
My Answer, As Well As Yours
Seriously, guys, I'm really high on Flynn. A year ago, or actually a week ago, I would have said he's just a fallback option. But now I think if he was interested in signing with the Dolphins in Free Agency, it should be a done deal. The Dolphins are a solid candidate because Flynn won't go to a NFC team where he would play the Packers before the Super Bowl, and plus the Phins have a decent core of WRs to throw to (plus Bush).
If Flynn ends up signing with another team, I think the team needs to draft a Quarterback. I'm not in favor of the Phins selling the house for Luck, and I'm undecided on Griffin III. If Landry Jones does declare for the draft, then I think the Phins should trade down to the mid-teens to stock up a few more mid-round picks, and select Jones if he's still there or else Tannehill, to sit behind Moore for 1-3 seasons and improve before becoming the starter.
So, there's my answer, let me know yours in the comment section.