INDIANAPOLIS – The Miami Dolphins need a quarterback, and at least for public consumption, the door is open to trading for Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn.
“Hey, we’ll use every avenue available to try to get the best player available for every position,” Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said on Thursday at the Scouting Combine.
Flynn was expected to be one of the hot commodities on the free-agent market, and given his performances in two career starts, his ties with new Miami coach Joe Philbin and his extensive knowledge of the playbook, he’d be a natural fit with the rebuilding Dolphins.
However, with the Packers no longer needing to use the franchise tag on Jermichael Finley after agreeing to a two-year contract with the tight end on Wednesday night, the Packers at least will consider reserving the franchise tag for Flynn and then trading him to the highest bidder.
Flynn isn’t the only fish on the market. Just like the Packers had to do with Brett Favre four years ago, the Colts seem prepared to sever ties with franchise icon Peyton Manning, though Manning’s future is in limbo because of ongoing neck troubles. And the Dolphins could always turn to the draft. Barring a major trade, top quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will be long gone by the time the Dolphins are on the clock with either the No. 8 or No. 9 pick (a coin flip will break a tie with the Panthers on Friday), but Ryan Tannehill or Brandon Weeden could be in play by trading back.
“I don’t think it has to be a long-term solution,” Ireland said. “I think you can look at a short-term solution. Obviously, you’d like a long-term solution or you can try to get both. You can certainly try to get both in that regard. You have to help this football team win and you have to look to the future. That’s my job is to try to build a team for today and the future, and Joe’s responsibility is to try to win right now with the mind of continuing to the future, as well.”
So long as he is smart, a leader and can make plays, Philbin said he had no preference on where his quarterback stood on the age and experience spectrum.
“We’ve got to have a player perform with success at that position but we don’t have a mandate that the player has to be 24 years old or 33 years old or 29 years old,” he said. “We’re looking for a manager, a leader, an accurate passer, a decision-maker, a guy that can make a play when we need it. However that shakes out is fine by us.”
While Ireland will get the final say, he’ll get plenty of input from the men who will be coaching the position.
“I think it’s important that we all share a vision of how that player’s going to function within the organization, within the offense,” Philbin said. “I think it’s important that I have a voice in that. I think it’s important that our offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, has a voice in that. I think it’s important that our general manager has a voice in that and our personnel staff. Let’s face it, they spend more time learning about prospects than we do.”
On a personal note, Philbin’s life has been a rollercoaster, with the drowning of his son a week before the playoff loss to the Giants. The move to Miami not only is the culmination of a long coaching career, but it’s a time to bury his head and just grind through the pain inside.
“I’ve told the staff, there’s times when it’s tough. It’s tough,” Philbin said.
“Seeing a lot of familiar faces today brings back a lot of emotion,” Philbin said to a group of Packers beat reporters after stepping off the podium. “When you put nine years of your heart and soul into something, it’s hard to leave. We’re very grateful about this opportunity. I’m just ecstatic about the reception we’ve had as a family in Miami, the way the organization’s embraced us, but it’s tough. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.