Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The once-proud Miami Dolphins franchise is in shambles after another high-profile swing and miss. The Dolphins first tried to acquire quarterback Peyton Manning, but missed. Now, free agent Matt Flynn has also told the Fins, thanks, but no thanks.
Flynn, a career backup in Green Bay, was expected to sign with the Fins to join head coach Joe Philbin and begin a new era in Miami. But, those plans were derailed after Flynn said the coaches and front office staff in Seattle had a much better vibe than Miami.
Shortly after Flynn chose the Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark piled on the Dolphins misery by tweeting, “NO ONE want to go to the Dolphins! No one! To believe I almost went there, but it was easy decision not to. It’s my honest opinion. Not a good guy making decisions.”
SI.com’s Peter King summed up the Dolphins as follows:
“In the last 10 years this franchise has been the most luckless, clueless, hapless club,” King wrote in his Monday Morning quarterback column.
The man making decisions, general manager Jeff Ireland, has been a thorn in the side of Dolphins fans for years now. His decisions have cost the Dolphins both glory on the field and respect off of it. From paying too much to bad players, to asking a draft pick if his mother was a prostitute, Ireland has done it all.
So far this offseason, the Fins have tried to sign coach Jeff Fisher, who instead chose to go to the St. Louis Rams. Peyton Manning was targeted, but never seriously considered the Dolphins. Flynn now has bypassed Miami and the Dolphins gave up a chance to try to trade for Robert Griffin, III in the draft.
Now, the Fins have backed themselves into a quarterback corner that could end up with the team overpaying former San Francisco 49er Alex Smith or signing David Garrard, who didn’t even play in the NFL last season.
The ability to sign Smith will, ironically, be determined by Peyton Manning. If Manning signs with San Francisco, then Smith will sign with a new team. But if Manning chooses Denver or Tennessee, then Smith will likely go back to the 49ers. Smith is from California and has a strong relationship with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
As for Flynn, the Dolphins were said to not be inclined to pay the quarterback $9 million per season, like the Seahawks did. This could mean either the Dolphins staff knows more about Flynn than they’re letting on, the Fins franchise is cheap, or the atmosphere in Davie is completely toxic.
Outside of Smith and Garrard, the rest of the free agent crop of quarterbacks includes: Kyle Boller, Matt Leinart, Dennis Dixon, and Josh Johnson. Needless to say, not an impressive enough crop to overtake Matt Moore as the Fins’ starter.
That leaves the Fins with the option of drafting a quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft. But even that has gotten so expensive, the Fins may miss out on an opportunity. Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill was long expected to be the target, but SI.com’s King said there’s a good chance Tannehill won’t make it to Miami’s eighth overall pick in the first round.
That means the Dolphins could have to give up the eighth pick, plus other significant pieces, for the chance to select Tannehill, who is not even in the same class as the top two quarterbacks: Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, III.
But such is life for the Miami Dolphins under owner Stephen Ross and Jeff Ireland. The Fins future is tenuous at best right now and any more poor moves in the offseason could jeopardize not just the 2012 season, but many seasons to come.