FIEDLER'S FUTURE

Now that the Dolphins will be acquiring A.J. Feeley from Philadelphia, it would seem a given that Jay Fiedler will be leaving town. But Coach Dave Wannstedt is saying he wants Fiedler to stick around.

The Dolphins have given Fiedler's agent permission to seek a trade and he has made it pretty clear Fiedler will not accept a pay cut to return as a backup with the Dolphins.

Considering the Dolphins will be giving the Eagles a conditional second-round pick for Feeley and they've already agreed on a fairly hefty contract for the restricted free agent, it seems almost a lock that Feeley will be the Dolphins' starter in 2004.

But after meeting with Fiedler, Wannstedt maintained his support for the Dolphins' starter the last four seasons.

"I'm glad Jay and I had a chance to talk, and it was a very positive and productive meeting," Wannstedt said in a statement released by the team. "I told him I knew how much he has meant to our team, and I emphasized I want him back this year.

"I also indicated to him that we're always looking to improve our depth at every position, and that all of our personnel decisions are based strictly on how they help make us stronger. Jay is supportive of our efforts to bring in as many good players as we can, and as someone who has met challenges successfully throughout his career, he understands that competition can only make us a better football team."

Indeed, Fiedler always has been a good team player, but one can easily understand his reluctance to return to a team that will demote him and cut his salary.

The Dolphins probably are better off trying to see what they can get in terms of a draft choice for Fiedler and starting from scratch at quarterback.


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