The great QB quest

It might not be much longer before we find out who will the Dolphins' starting quarterback in 2006, although who that might be remained a mystery the day before the start of free agency. Could be Culpepper. Could be Brees. Could be McCown. Might even be Frerotte again.

Patrick Ramsey is yet another quarterback who has become available, but if the Dolphins acquire him -- either via trade or after possibly being released by Washington -- it's doubtful he would be given the starting job.

So the big names as of Friday afternoon clearly were Culpepper and Brees.

Culpepper this week requested a trade from the Vikings or his outright release, and various reports indicate he will be traded soon, perhaps right at the start of the calendar year, or 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

The Dolphins will be facing a lot of competition for Culpepper's services, with the Raiders, Rams and Ravens all mentioned as possible destinations.

It would be difficult to envision being able to acquire Culpepper for anything less than a first-day pick, although it might not have to be a first-round choice.

Brees, meanwhile, will not require a trade because he's an unrestricted free agent, but he won't come cheap and there will be competition for his services. One report suggested Brees has all but decided to sign with New Orleans.

Like Culpepper, Brees is coming off a fairly significant injury, although the prognosis is encouraging as far as his being able to take part in training camp.

At this point, Culpepper and Brees clearly are the top two options for the Dolphins, who would be better off sticking with Gus Frerotte if they can't land either.

But there has been talk of possible interest in former Arizona quarterback Josh McCown, who has some big passing games for the Cardinals last season. But that's a tad misleading because Arizona can't run the ball and also has some tremendous receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

In the Dolphins' situation, McCown simply wouldn't represent a significant upgrade over Frerotte, if at all.

You can debate all you want between Culpepper and Brees, both of whom would look good in a Dolphins uniform.

The feeling from this vantage point is that Culpepper probably is a little better quarterback at this point, but Brees won't cost the Dolphins a draft pick.

But, really, after all these years of sub-par quarterbacking, either Brees or Culpepper would do just fine.

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