Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, besieged by criticism from his team's fans over an offseason filled with missed opportunities, took the unusual step of calling one of those disgruntled fans Thursday night to explain some of the front office's recent decisions.
Among Ross' revelations, according to ProFootballTalk.com: The Dolphins were ready to cut wide receiver Brandon Marshall before trading him to the Chicago Bears, and new coach Joe Philbin didn't want Matt Flynn to be his starting quarterback.
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The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Friday that Dolphins CEO Mike Dee arranged for the phone call between Ross and Jason Lawrence, a longtime season-ticket holder who was interviewed by the newspaper while participating in a fan protest Tuesday outside the team's headquarters.
"[Ross] said they had been shopping [Marshall] for a couple weeks," Lawrence said. "Nobody would return their phone calls about getting him. If Chicago didn't take [Marshall] … they would have ended up cutting him very shortly after that, and got nothing."
The Dolphins were thought to have an advantage in signing Flynn, a free agent, because of Flynn's relationship with new Miami coach Joe Philbin, who was Green Bay's offensive coordinator when Flynn was the Packers' backup quarterback.
But Lawrence told a different story.
"Ross] goes, 'If my coach wanted [Matt Flynn, didn't you think he would be here?'" Lawrence told the Sun Sentinel. "'If my coach said, 'I want Matt Flynn as our starting quarterback next year,' he would be here, but I couldn't pay Matt Flynn $8 million to come here. If I end up getting him, it's a gamble … and I'm still drafting a quarterback. I'm still looking for another option.'"
Lawrence said Ross also told him that he was unwilling to pay Alex Smith $8 million per year when he wasn't even sure that Smith could beat out Matt Moore, the Dolphins' most recent starter. Smith wound up re-singing with the San Francisco 49ers.