Analysis  

 

Dolphins left playing QB shell game after Seahawks land Flynn

When Matt Flynn agreed to terms on a three-year deal with Seattle on Sunday, it left a lot of people in Miami wondering just what exactly the Dolphins are doing. While that question remains unanswered -- what is Miami's plan at QB? -- know this: If Miami wanted Flynn, it could have had him.

New Dolphins coach Joe Philbin was Flynn's position coach at Green Bay and knows just about everything there is to know about the former seventh-round pick who has started two games in his career. If their relationship was bad, a meeting never would have been arranged, so scrap that theory. If Miami really thought he was The Guy, it would have showed its intent. It didn't, so he took his talents to the Space Needle.

Back to the real intrigue: What now for the Dolphins?

Free-agent quarterback Alex Smith was in Miami when Flynn agreed with Seattle. If the Dolphins want Smith, they will have to offer him more than Flynn received from the Seahawks (three years, maximum of $26 million if incentives are hit) and what San Francisco dangled in front of him (three years, $24 million).

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Smith supposedly isn't happy with the 49ers after learning that they're in the Peyton Manning chase, despite the team saying for months he was their guy for the future. Smith can't get too steamed, though, because there was an offer waiting from San Francisco. When he didn't sign it, the team looked at other options -- and Manning is a serious option.

Out of spite and maybe for a money/opportunity grab, Smith could sign with the Dolphins and leave the 49ers exposed should Manning opt for Denver or Tennessee, the other finalists for Manning's services.

Which leads back to the Dolphins: Miami could slow-play Smith -- unless it desperately wants him. Smith's only option for now is San Francisco with Seattle out of the game. Should Manning pick Tennessee, Matt Hasselbeck could hit the market. Though Hasselbeck is older and injury prone, if he plays like he did last season, he could make the Brandon Marshall-less Dolphins competitive -- if any receivers are left to add since they're being picked off in free agency by the minute.

Should Manning opt for Denver, well, Tim Tebow is an option. He'll sell tickets but Philbin, in his first coaching stint, would have his knees taken out because he'd have to tailor his offense to fit Tebow's skill set. Tebow would energize fans, though, which has been a recent problem in South Florida.

If Manning chooses San Francisco, then Miami could land Smith after all, at its price, since Smith's options would be so minimal. It's a roll of the dice, but with everything that's going on now in this quarterback shell game, what isn't a gamble?

Miami's fallback is Matt Moore, which frankly isn't the worst thing in the world. Sure, Moore could be best suited to be a backup, but he's a fairly accurate thrower, and he's got 25 career starts -- 23 more than Flynn. At 27, Moore is also 15 years younger than Brett Favre, whose phone could end up ringing the way things keep going for the Dolphins.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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