Fiedler Could be Top Backup Option

While the Bears got a jump on free agency over the weekend with the addition of Muhsin Muhammad, a veteran quarterback is next on the wish list.

The Bears are scheduled to talk to Jay Fiedler's agent, Brian Levy, Wednesday and along with the New York Giants are the top suitors for his services.

The quarterback dominoes appear to be falling into place with Arizona the frontrunner for Kurt Warner and Jeff Garcia looking like he'll end up in Detroit.

The Bears are still interested in Warner, but Fiedler is the safer option because he won't come to Chicago expecting to start. Miami released Fiedler last week to clear $6.35 million against the salary cap.

The move was expected, as Fiedler was replaced by A.J. Feeley as a starter midway through last season. The argument also can be made that Fiedler already was playing on borrowed time, as ex-coach Dave Wannstedt successfully lobbied to bring Fiedler back last season even after Miami had traded a second-round pick to Philadelphia for Feeley's services.

Ironically, such a decision ranks among the worst made in Wannstedt's 41/2 seasons as Miami's coach. By splitting snaps between Feeley and Fiedler through training camp and then debating between which quarterback to start, the Dolphins had significant uncertainty at the position.

The man who replaced Dan Marino at quarterback will be remembered more for the team's failure to reach the playoffs the past three seasons rather than his 36-23 record as a starter. Fiedler struggled to stay healthy in four of five seasons, ending last season on injured reserve with a neck injury.

Fiedler, though, showed his toughness by often playing through pain. He also often had inferior offensive talent to work with at wide receiver as well as instability at offensive coordinator, with Miami having gone through four of them since the 2000 season.

"All in all, I think Jay can leave here with his head held high," Levy said. "In the time he was here, he gave everything he had. He played tough and smart. Unfortunately, it was time to move on."

At 33, Fiedler now finds himself at a career crossroads. Fiedler has said he wanted to sign with a team that would give him a chance to become a starter but those opportunities may be greatly limited. Fiedler would make an ideal backup, as he excels in making smart decisions and effectively managing an offense.


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