QB options increasing

If Coach Nick Saban decides he wants to upgrade at quarterback with a veteran this offseason, it's looking more and more like there will be plenty of options available, the latest being San Diego's Drew Brees.

Chargers GM A.J. Smith said this week his team will not use either the franchise or transition tag on Brees, meaning he will become an unrestricted free agent on March 3.

Another free agent will be Arizona's Josh McCown, whose departure from the Cardinals became all but official when Kurt Warner was signed to a new three-year contract.

Cincinnati's Jon Kitna also could be a free agent, although the Bengals might be more inclined to try re-sign him now after Carson Palmer's knee injury in the playoffs.

Then there are the quarterbacks either being offered in trades or possibly headed toward being released.

That list includes Minnesota's Daunte Culpepper, Tampa Bay's Brian Griese, the Jets' Chad Pennington, Washington's Patrick Ramsey, Pittsburgh's Tommy Maddox, Oakland's Kerry Collins, New Orleans' Aaron Brooks, and Tennessee's Steve McNair.

The list unfortunately includes several players coming off significant injuries, among them Griese, Pennington and Brees.

With Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler now being talked about as a likely top 10 pick, it's looking like the Dolphins aren't going to get a chance at him. Even if they had, it's questionable whether he would have started as a rookie.

So it remains totally wide open who'll be the Dolphins' starting quarterback in 2006. It's just that the options keep increasing.


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