This post is the first post in a series that will break down and evaluate the Miami Dolphins position by position. If you haven't read up on how players are being classified (the number and letter that follow each player's name), you can read this post explaining the evaluation system.
Where else would we start than with the position that has been plaguing this franchise since number 13 retired over a decade ago? Since then, 15 different quarterbacks have started a game for the Dolphins. And with the way things are looking, the quarterback search will continue for at least another offseason.
The Dolphins currently have four quarterbacks on their roster...for now.
So let's get to the grading.
Chad Henne (2-B). I'll admit I'm being optimistic here by putting Henne in the second tier rather than the third tier. But Henne has shown enough - more so in 2009 than in 2010 - to make me think there's still hope for him. There's no doubt Henne regressed last year. But before completely writing him off, I'm willing to give him a season under Brian Daboll in a (hopefully) new offense. But make no mistake - competition will be brought in and this is Henne absolute final chance in Miami.
Chad Pennington (2-B). No, we have no idea if Pennington will even be able to return following his third (or is it his fourth) shoulder surgery. But when you consider what he's accomplished in his career, he's clearly worthy of being placed in this second tier - though his prime is squarely behind him. In my perfect world, Pennington does retire and joins this organization's coaching staff. That's up to CP, though. And I'm not qualified to tell an athlete if/when he should retire.
Tyler Thigpen (3-E). Though many will want to put him in the 3-D category, Thigpen will be 27 in April and his time to "develop" is quickly running out. He possesses some unique qualities that make it easy to be overly optimistic about him and defend him by saying he's never been given a fair shot. But the bottom line here is that he's got some glaring weaknesses (accuracy and decision making come to mind) and he's probably just not a fit for this regime.
Tom Brandstater (4-F). Though the young quarterback signed a future contract in early January, it's unlikely he's anything more than camp fodder at this point. He had some serious potential coming out of Fresno as a 6th round pick in 2009. But he was always considered a project and the Dolphins are now the third organization he's been with in two years. He could develop into a long-term back-up, but likely nothing more.
Contract situations: Henne has one year left on his rookie deal worth just over half a million. This is his "crap or get off the pot" season. Pennington and Thigpen are both free agents. Thigpen will probably seek a team where he feels like he has a real chance at a starting job. Pennington is an unknown at this point until we know how his shoulder is coming along.
Outlook: The Dolphins are going to address this position. The only questions, really, are how they will do it and how many new quarterbacks they will bring in. Will it be a draft pick? Will it be a veteran via a trade or through free agency? Or will it be both a vet and a rookie?