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2012 Free Agent Targets for the Miami Dolphins: Breaking down the QBs

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Last week I posted the first of many Friday editions about free agency. Again, as free agency gets under way, I will do recaps of the week's moves and I'll pay more attention to the moves made by the Dolphins and AFC East clubs. Still, we're a bit a ways from free agency so for now we'll look at free agents by position and who Miami could target out of those positions. The first week will start with the most important position on the team, the QB.

Notable QBs available:

Drew Brees: Don't expect him to be there. I list him because technically, he will be a free agent. If he doesn't receive the franchise tag and hits free agency, every member of New Orleans' front office should be fired.

Matt Flynn: His recent outing against the Lions just helped earn him another few million per year. Suddenly he's the highest prospect at QB that legitimately has a great chance to hit free agency unless Peyton Manning's option is declined.

Kyle Orton: Miami had the opportunity to trade for him in August, but they declined due to the price tag. They can get him for much cheaper in March.

Jason Campbell: He has always had pretty good talent, but has been plagued by inconsistency. His future with Oakland is done with Carson Palmer on board now. Campbell will land himself with a franchise, but he won't be given the starting position without having to fight someone for it.

Chad Henne: Let's face it, the current Dolphin probably won't be a Dolphin in March. His chance of returning has been squandered by the emergence of Matt Moore.

Donovan McNabb: An aging QB that is better suited to tutoring a young QB. Except McNabb sees himself as a great QB and isn't interested in mentoring. He's likely squandered any opportunity to play again in the NFL unless a team becomes desperate.

Alex Smith: He has done much better this year, but few give him credit for that. Because of San Francisco's success, the team will probably look to bring him back with a one or two year deal. Smith would be smart to accept that offer before free agency to help solidify his standing in the future.

Others:

Vince Young, Derek Anderson, Chris Redman, Shaun Hill, Drew Stanton, Brady Quinn, David Garrard, Dennis Dixon, and Charlie Whitehurst.

Taking a quick glance on this list, there is not much to be impressed about. This would be a hell of a QB offseason if Drew Brees and Peyton Manning were available, but we know Brees won't be.

Manning is the biggest mystery, but Colts owner Jim Irsay did announce Manning would be back in Indy if he's healthy. Still, Manning is nothing more than a 3 or 4 year rental for a team that needs to win now. Could Miami make a run at Peyton? It's not a likely destination and if they did, it should not prevent them from looking for a QB in the draft.

Of the notable QBs, I think it is fair to say that Orton, Campbell, Smith, Henne, and McNabb are not upgrades over Matt Moore and don't look to be a franchise QB. On the other hand, Flynn is the source of a lot of debate. Many are very high on him, much like they were on Kevin Kolb. Before I go on, I am not saying that Flynn is a similar QB to Kolb, but they have similar hype. Flynn won't require a big trade like Kolb, but it's likely he could receive a nice deal. I don't expect the offer to be extremely high, but I think a 4-year deal worth $30 million with many incentives would be a start. I'd hope any team would try to protect themselves by having a lower signing bonus, of let's say $12 million, and have roster bonuses in years 3 and 4 of the deal. That would lessen the pain if he turns out to be a bust. Flynn is a legitimate target for many teams and I could see Miami making a move at him if they feel Robert Griffin III won't be available to them in the draft, even through a trade. The same could be said for Seattle and as the dark horse, I wouldn't be surprised if the Broncos show interest as well. Personally, I am hoping the Redskins sign Flynn which would leave the door open for Miami to draft Griffin.

As far as his physical talents go, Flynn is only average. His arm strength and mobility are average, but they are good enough to elude the rush and get the ball downfield. He was also considered an accurate passer as well. People get lost in his last game, but he has had a spotty record in relief and before you think everything has always been good, he did have a poor outing against Detroit in 2010 in which he went 15-26 for 177 yards and an INT when he replaced an injured Aaron Rodgers during the game. The bad part? Green Bay lost and only scored 3 points. I don't point that out to say Flynn will be bad, but I don't think people should be expecting a top 5 QB to be hitting free agency with Flynn. Expectations could be set unreasonably high for him in free agency. Now, for the big question. Should Miami take him? I'm fine with it, but I'd still look for a QB in the draft as well. Generally I don't like having a first round rookie as a QB, but I'd be open to making an exception for having Moore and Flynn in front of Griffin. I'd also be perfectly fine with having Tannehill as a #3 behind them. Having Flynn on board instantly would create a giant QB controversy though. His contract would say he's automatic starter, but previous performance should indicate Moore should have a shot? How would that situation be handled? Luckily, that's not my decision to make.

Ultimately, the front office can bring in Manning or Flynn. I'm fine with both. As long as they don't pass on Griffin because of them. You could think that would indicate a lack of trust in Flynn and Moore, but I don't see it that way. As the old saying goes, you hope for the best and plan for the worst. If there was ever a position to overstock with talent, QB would the best position to do it. At least until we know who the future QB of this franchise is.

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