QB SEARCH

It's still too early in the offseason for the Dolphins to make a major move at the quarterback position just yet, but that doesn't mean they haven't begun doing the background work. For one thing, they spent a lot of time at the Senior Bowl talking to and examining Philip Rivers and J.P. Losman, two prospects who could be availablea at the No. 20 spot in the first round. And now comes word the Dolphins could be interested in making a deal for former Michigan star Drew Henson.

According to more than one published report, the Dolphins are believed to be one of five teams interested in the services of Henson, who could have been the top pick in the 2001 draft had he not instead decided to sign with the New York Yankees.

The Houston Texans drafted Henson in the sixth round last year with the idea they would trade him for a much higher pick.

In fact, the idea has been thrown out that acquiring Henson would require nothing short of a first-round pick.

But that might not be such a big price considering Henson is seen as a better prospect than either Rivers or Losman and he's not that far behind Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger, for that matter.

The other four teams said to be interested are Buffalo, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

The first step to the whole process is Henson agreeing with the Yankees on a buyout of his baseball contract, which has two years remaining.

Henson then has to sign a contract with the Texans before he can be traded. If he doesn't sign before the draft, he will go back into the pool of prospects.

The incentive for Henson to sign with Houston is that he can have some sort of an idea of what team he will be playing for, as opposed to going back in the draft.

Now, even if the Dolphins acquire Henson or draft Rivers or draft Losman, that's a long-term answer, a possibly good one at that.

It won't do much, however, for the 2004 season because none of those guys should be expected to make an immediate impact.

The Dolphins still need to go out and get their hands on a solid veteran, someone who would be an upgrade over Jay Fiedler.

From this vantage point, Mark Brunell still remains by far the best alternative should he — as expected — get released by Jacksonville.


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