Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland enjoys danger. Not anything like sky diving danger, though, or even J-walking danger.
No, he’s a fan of cheaper thrills, like asking a young and potentially angry football player if his mother is a prostitute, or trying to be frugal with the only quarterback remaining on the open market who could bring respect back to the position in Miami.
Yes, that’s actually happening. As Yahoo’s Jason Cole reports, Matt Flynn still very much wants to sign with the Dolphins, but Ireland is “low-balling the offer, thinking he’ll take it just to play for [Joe] Philbin.” Low-balling is unwise and possibly a fatally flawed strategy with Flynn visiting Seattle, sparking legitimate concern that he could sign with the Seahawks before even making an appearance in South Beach.
You’ll quickly try to justify Ireland’s actions with two pieces of common supporting arguments as you consider how low Miami’s low-ball offer could be, and how much the Dolphins are flirting with danger here. The first is Flynn’s two career starts, inexperience that should limit his value, and the second is simply that low-balling is a standard negotiating tactic.
Those are both accurate statements of fact, but simple facts don’t apply to the Dolphins right now in their pursuit of Flynn, who will likely cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million per year. A quick gander at the rest of the depressing journeymen treading water in the QB free agency pool reveals NFL stalwarts like Rex Grossman, J.P. Losman, David Garrard, and Vince Young. Matt Moore isn’t a long-term solution, and none of those names are either.
What about Ryan Tannehill in the draft? Sure, take that dice roll if you want. Keep in mind that the best rookie quarterback in the draft last year not named Cam Newton was Andy Dalton, and he was selected early in the second round, long after Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, and Jake Locker, who were all taken in the top 15.
We can’t really pass judgment on Locker yet due to his lack of playing time, but Gabbert went just two picks later than the slot Miami holds in the first round (No. 8), and he’s looked timid and weak in the pocket. Ponder came off the board at No. 12, and he had a mediocre passer rating of 70.1 over 10 starts.
The moral of this story is one that’s repeated annually, but still often disregarded. Outside of the most elite prospects, quarterback is always the most unpredictable position in the draft, and with the continued use of spread offenses in college, it probably will be for quite some time. Heck, even some of those blue chippers have been infamously terrible due to the excessive consumption of Purple Drank.
The Dolphins could be between a QB who may have only started a game twice, but he’s still had four seasons of learning behind Aaron Rodgers under Philbin’s direction, and a converted wide receiver who only had one full season as a starter at Texas A&M.
Take the risk and pay Flynn, and give him straight cash, homie.